Tell me about poison.

Tell me about chemicals that make things happen
that you might subjectively say are bad,
that someone else might say, just so subjectively,
are good, necessary, or useful.
Tell me where to draw the lines so that the subject-
ivity becomes object-
ivity and understood, repeated.

Tell me how to balance on the poison line.

Acknowledge, please:
__What’s poison to some, isn’t poison to another.
__What’s death to some, isn’t death to another.
__What’s necessary to some, isn’t the same to another.
__What you care about is not, necessarily, what I treasure.
Move from marijuana to liquor to chemotherapy to xanax to prozac.
Hospital sanctioned or society sanctioned or hiding in the ditch,
__offering release.
Move from cancer-killing to stem cell needs to anti-depressants and
__pain killers.
Doctor approved or peer suggested or contraband under society’s tongue.
Make the moves, the tightrope maneuvers of meaning and balance,
and talk about balancing on that poison line
of survival
that balances today against tomorrow.
Fight against surrender.
You, now, tell me about poison.

Talk to me about quality of life.
Speak of legality and propriety.
Preach about appropriate chemicals.
Dis-allow self-medication, and choice.
Make it all black and white.

Tell me about poison,
and then
you tell me
how to balance on the poison line,
where poison might mean life
__for a while,
and a lack of poison might mean
pain, now, or saying yes
to death
or a different life
than the one I dreamed.
Tell me about poison,
and what should go into
my body to sustain it,
to keep it vital
and ready for tomorrow.
Prescription or otherwise.
Tell me about the subjectivity turned objective
for sustenance of what you want.
Because that’s it, isn’t it, this line I’m meant
to stay behind, or balance just upon?
As you prescribe the right chemicals,
as you prescribe the right poisons,
as you allow for what means the tomorrow
you can accept,
you’d prescribe my tomorrows
like my todays
and you’d tell me not just
about my chosen poisons
and how they’re poisonous,
but about the things that keep me
flowing, moving, and poisoned
instead of poisoning.


JENNIFER L. COLLINS is a tattooed poet and animal lover who grew up in Virginia and has recently relocated to Cape Coral, FL., where she and her husband have five rescues – one neurotic hound, and four very spoiled cats. Her poetry has been published in various journals and nominated for a Pushcart by Puerto Del Sol. She spends her summers as an instructor of creative writing and drama at the Cardigan Mountain School. Her first chapbook, Oil Slick Dreams, is available for sale from Finishing Line Press.