Friday, September 7, 2018

"The Smile of You" by Terri Lynn Cummings

The Smile of You
Terri Lynn Cummings
                                For my nephew
I sit in a chapel
wonder at the moment when 
you sow your transformation 
into something else

a dandelion or daisy
a dove or cardinal
standing in sun
Your garden grows 

familiar faces
fragile and fleeting 
as the pale, yellow light
streaming through a window’s

constant awareness
I trust you become
the wings of the world
everywhere ascending

like a minute-long 
string of black geese
chasing the moon 
crescent as a smile

My love
I hardly 
your beauty

Poet’s Notes: Recently, we lost our twenty-four-year-old nephew (pictured) to opioid addiction. My sister asked me to write a poem for the memorial service. Too close to the loss, I could not pen the small yet significant moments or manners that stood out about him. So, I imagined what it would be like on the next day—to sit in a chapel and say farewell. Part way through, his smile took hold and guided my hand.

Editor’s Note:  What a moving elegy and with such universal sentiment!  Reminds me of "Vincent" by Don McLean

Terri asks those with the means to do so to consider sending a donation to the HERO (Heroin Epidemic Relief Organization) Foundation

As a physician who has dedicated his career to the field of addiction medicine, I have seen how widespread and devastating drug addiction, particularly opioid addiction, is in the United States.  Substance Use Disorders cut across all socio-economic groups and all walks of life.  Adolescents comprise half of the epidemic's victims.  These days, it is rare to find someone who does not have a friend, relative, or loved one with a drug problem.  

Drug overdose, whether deliberate or accidental, is now the leading cause of death for Americans under age fifty.  In 2017, 72,000 Americans died from drug overdose.  To put that in perspective, in the same year, 40,100 died in motor vehicle accidents.

Treatment is readily available for those willing to seek it and pay for it.  The success rates are similar to those for the treatment of other chronic diseases such as hypertension and asthma.  Those needing help in the Kansas City area are welcome to inquire about treatment through my private practice   


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