The Missing Page (poem by Merimee Moffitt)


At the closing reading of East of Edith, Merimee Moffitt took the stage on the open mic and swiftly had the entire audience rapt listening to a stridently moving poem when right in the middle of the poem, she realized that page two was missing. That night, when she hurried from stage, she left us much in the way the epidemic of  addiction crisis remains in New Mexico,  unresolved. Later, she was kind enough to share the print version with me. Now, LPG is happy to share the whole completed poem (with the missing page) as a quick glimpse into both the epidemic and the quest for recovery. Thanks, Merimee!

new rules of love

You, another mother’s son,

came to that first nar-anon with me

weighing in on my side; you (as he had once)

urged me to go.  I’m chairing next month,

a chair full of nerves and hope

a month of Mondays

Saturday I drove to Moriarty, no, not named for

Neal Cassidy, but full of drugs, and we laid out brochures.

We talked to mamas who couldn’t smile and those who

had learned to smile and cry over the child they are losing,

have lost, might lose to drugs.

Just lookit those lovely verbs.

We gave some comfort, talking about

Gol Dang, the gov, Susanna herself signing for capital

a youth facility aqui en Burque—727,000 real bucks;

not enough but

a family losing a child to pills

and addiction, to dizzy confusion can get fired up;

smoking seems harmless yet we poke through embers

looking for remains

Then needles for a fix and in between

they rope us like scared calves until breathing ceases,

over and over, red rover come over, rescue me.

Half our brochures, bracelets, pamphlets, business cards

disappear into Health Fair baskets.  Two women argue

there is none of That going on

no drugs in our tiny towns.

One old cowboy, Bull Durham rumpled and dry

as tinder, stopped by about sex offenders; I said wrong

table; he insisted he’d fix these drugsters,

snip ‘em like sheep and pigs he’d been fixin’ for years.

I shooed him along, get along old buddy—

it ain’t that kinda thang.

The teen pregnancy prevention table had a row

of glaring grandmas looking like cornered rhinos holding

infants, hapless teens in pajama-like clothing,

examples of unprotected sex.

We had no addicts with us, though we had pictures

to show normal, fun-loving kids. We said look,

the young addicts’ film shows a roller coaster at Cliff’s.

Some stop, climb out, walk away. All talk about recovery.

Mothers and grandmas’ backbones in place,

spines stacked up like question marks and meltdowns—

have to let go. There are programs to help us learn how.

Here, help yourself, your self, your self.

merimee moffitt