jason o’toole, ariana

People spending real money
on food heated up by strangers,
not real chefs.
Most don’t recognize, real business
here: drugs.

Around tables faces
so young, won’t know
what they’ve missed;
what they will always miss.

The cook passes glassine bag
of what’s at least part cocaine,
to that actor from the television
event of a lifetime!

The dishwasher passes green balloon,
of what is mostly heroin,
to diner owner’s daughter.
She will be found dead tomorrow.

Tonight, she serves her friends
(and I am one)
complimentary deserts;
Stubs out cigarette,
smudged exclamation point
to what shall be her death sentence:
“Clean one week,
I’ve got this!”

She will not finish this pack,
from which I bum a smoke.
Wish I made all this up.
Have I escaped,
Ariana?

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