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First Do No Harm
An opioid journey
by Sheryl Sirotnik

There is nothing to tell her
This is a mistake.
There is no way she can see
The long arc of pain
Smiling from the corner.

No one to warn her this is a road
Into a very bad neighborhood.
She doesn't notice the one way signs,

Distracted by the white coated men
Waving her on with their stethoscopes.
Their confident smiles
Hiding what they don't know.

The pills are so small,
The bottle is so big.
There is no way to tell this is a mistake.
She's following directions,
Doing so well they say,
Until she isn't.

No way to know that the 92 percent,
For whom this road is no problem,
Are invisibly different from her.
No way to know a bit of rogue DNA,
Is the chink in her armor,
Until it's too late.


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