Solitary Song by Patricia Cannon


Solitary Song
by Patricia Cannon

It was always strange 
seeing her walk down 
Francisco Boulevard.
Her hips swaying 
like a beckoning wave 
while her vagrant legs
dark and strong 
composed 
a solitary song 
of addiction. 

To a world 
of averted eyes
and devouring mouths
she had a face 
as hard as flint. 
To me, she was Mary,
my best friend’s mother 
who sang Journey songs 
with us children 
and slept while we played. 

Her body curled in bed 
like a clenched fist. 
The same way 
she would position herself
on bus stop benches
and the way that
her daughter told me
that she was found.

Her lifeless body  
on the bathroom floor.
Her head tinged blue
bowed over the edge 
of the tub 
with only 
a bent spoon 
and an empty syringe 
standing vigil 
at her last act of prostration 
to the Crystal God of Heroin.

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Patricia Cannon

Patricia Cannon has been a Registered Nurse at UCSF since 2001. She has worked in cardiac critical care, neuro intensive care, hemeoncology, school nursing, and currently, in research. In the early days of the pandemic, she was redeployed to the CATCH team which stands for the Covid, Assessment, Treatment, Coordination Hub. This pilot was launched to help patients get much needed procedures and surgeries. Her passion is her faith, photography, and the written word in all its forms. Her poetry has appeared in several magazines and books.

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