by Barry Grass 

Patches of skin walk in sagged and browned. Patches of skin like ruins of skin on skin. Some skin showing where hair once was. Mostly ruined skin showing where a person once was. No. Always a person. Never forget their humanity. Never call them desperate. Always notice their desperation. There are the tests, always, the tubes & diastolic numbers & cuffs & pumps. There is the paperwork, always, the photocopies & emergency contacts & “how long?”s & “where at?”s. There is the hatred, never, but down there somewhere, near memories of fathers, near feelings of abandonment. There is the conflict.

Always. Cover the skin. Throw sheets on the ruins and flush out the grime. Fight the protests. Check the purse, the pant leg. Take the knife, the rock. Wear gloves, always, but never do; gloves create distance. Desire distance, always. Get close in spite of desire, always. Take blood pressures. Talk to them until sleeping. Look at that skin. 


Barry Grass is an MFA candidate in creative nonfiction at The University of Alabama. His work has been published in The Kansas City Star. In light of the name change of his hometown Kansas City Wizards MLS team to Sporting Kansas City, he is considering changing his own name to Writing Barry Grass.

3 Responses to “Detox”

  1. The language is beautiful and visceral. I see even the non-junkies in the hospital, my grandmother, her skin just before she died.

  2. […] the point of view of the virtuous professionals that keep the wheels turning in Detox, this month’s story opens our Winter 2011 […]

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by John Dobson, Joshua Nall. Joshua Nall said: congrats to my buddy @theBGrass for getting published in an online literary journal: […]

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