Plus ça change,

plus c’est la même chose.

More than five millennia have passed

since Sumerians cultivated opium poppies.

Soon, papaver somniferum cast its spell

widely, on Assyrian, Egyptian, Indian, Minoan,

Greek, Roman, and Arab Empires.

Then, on to China, Europe, and North America.

Ether frolics, laughing gas highs, and

recreational chloroform joined the party.

With Sigmund Freud extolling the virtues of “coca,”

William Halsted became ensnared in its trap.

Fast forward to the twenty-first century.

Now, we have fentanyl, propofol, hydromorphone,

sevoflurane, and other enticements

to lure physicians to premature death.

Why did you succumb, my friend, to temptation?

You must have felt pummeled, alone

in your own skin, unable

to comprehend or maneuver

your emotions, leaving ineffable wreckage

in your wake.

A mystery incapable of being unraveled,

some amorphous force awry,

a watershed moment, etched

in denial of consequences,

the beckoning kingdom of escape prevailed.

What toxic brew of denial and bravado

camouflaged the apple’s rot?

It was supposed to be so easy,

one or two fixes only.

Just enough to forget the sulking teens, arrogant surgeons,

and marital tensions.

You were too special, too clever

to fall into the abyss.

Yet, the Rubicon was crossed.


Blanketed in velvet fog,

you slithered to your next dose.

Spent, hollow, unable to care,

You must accept the extended

arms guiding you to safety.

Take time to heal the suppurating wounds.

Get past the past.

Find glory in the nacreous sky.

Cherish the quotidian,

a time when anything can be,

despite what has been.

This content is only available via PDF.

Article PDF first page preview

Article PDF first page preview