We trudged up sixth street,
Heads aching and compressed.
The great-grated gate towered close.
Crossing, we came to its front, closed.
We saw a swath of gray blankets
Swaddled around a shriveled sometimes-person.
It blocked the door, halfway.
We edged closer.
A tall flaxen-hair-spilling man appeared
At the entrance, smiling– the messenger,
Keeper of the gate.
“It’s closed,” he said, locking and turning.
We slumped, turning as well.
“Wait! You need some Narcan?”
The crumpled coverings below us croaked,
Unfurling, gaunt face upturned.
Swallowing, we nodded.
A scarred and scabbed hand rummaged,
Then returned, white palm cradling
Two fragile and pristine vials,
And two syringes, package-new, closed.
“I keep this stash for people like you
So some can be saved.
Take it and keep.”
Bowing to receive,
We clasped, thanked, and took.
We turned away as, once more,
He crumbled into the guise of tomb-colored sheets.