Volume 34, Number 3

An Allegory of Our Times

I have known people who were desperate for death,
of course, they didn’t know that was their desperation.
Paul injected himself with heroin, Judy liked to take
a pill when she got up, then another and another.
Harry was dying of cancer and wanted a pill to take
it away—they give him lots of pills, it didn’t go away.
John Houston lived alone and drank every day from
11 a.m. until he fell off his chair at night.
Davie Curry used to talk about his demons as if they were
friends. In my late twenties, I attended more funerals
than was decent even in this decadent society.
Some said it was God exacting his wrath. You got to think
any right-minded god would have better things to do than
to kill little Billy Denver, Arty Rogan or Freddie Mercury.
Betty Sloan died in childbirth, her daughter, Casey, carried
the guilt with her to the back alley behind Target and
pushed it through a fentanyl-soaked syringe into her arm.
Sometimes it is more difficult to find things to live for
when things to die for are so readily available.

—Peter Halpin