Fentanyl by Zachary Bond

            for Ryan

Home in time
to watch a drunk
sun stumbling. It flashes

its pink ass & jets
like little crucifixes
cross the sky: I know

such audacity, the need
to burn & then be
burnished, the urge

to vanish: I’ve driven
off the road with dark
intent. It’s just

my hands that spared me.
It’s scary, being so close
to the mirror you can see

it’s all sand. Nothing
astonishes me anymore.
A single line can stop a heart.

Don’t ask me how I know.
My life
is a scroll of vulgar script

somebody dashed down
in a hurry. Every night is
an emergency

& I am
armed only with
my lack

of affect
& this pill bottle
full of fingernails.

What’s more: I grieve
for the missing
memories. Supplant my desire

with something
that’ll last longer
than an hour.

My cousin could
spot a speck
of seaglass

in the dark
under a porch
under the dead

leaves down there.
He found it
because I’d

dropped it & was
inconsolable. But
I wasn’t. I was

consoled. He could
hit a crabapple 
into the ocean

without even needing to
be on the beach.
This is how you hold your hand

to throw a screwball.
This is how you twist
your wrist.

It’s like a door
you need
to open

so bad. I didn’t know
you’d one day lock yours
so tight we had to

shoulder it open.
The EMT said it was instant, lied,
said there was no suffering.


Zachary Bond’s writing has appeared both online and in print, most recently in Whiskey Tit Journal. He has received the Beatrice Daw Brown Prize for Poetry and was a finalist for the 2020 Iowa Review Award. He can be found on Twitter @zackbond.

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, poetry, and creative nonfiction from marginalized creators.