It’s 6 a.m. when the lights turn on

in a white-washed drugstore,

as if it were a little theatre

shining out onto the sidewalk.


The regulars are there

walking around in tight circles

like chickens on hot plates

waiting for their next government fix.


Just before work, I always get hit up

for a smoke by Freddy Fridays.

He’s from Toronto like me

but a few years older,

remembering T.O. at its best

when it comes to sex, drugs and rock’n’ roll.


He’s 6’1 and looks like a tobacco farmer from Tillsonburg

with his John Deere ball cap,

worn-out jeans and Levi’s jacket.

A face wrapped in skin on bone,

long black hair, coal eyes,

teeth rotten and stained

with twenty years on the crack pipe,

arms full of the needle and the damage done,

a voice like smoky wind

spitting out dust about

the good ole days of Toronta.


I give him a smoke. His nerves

light it right away as he stares

at that little lit stage, waiting

for his Methadone juice

and the next act.


I light another smoke myself and watch

the store next door unload

a dolly full of boxes

with big blue letters spelling



Copyright © 2017 by Henry Doyle

Published in Geist magazine

Number 104 spring 2017


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