*Previously published by Spider Mirror Journal, December 2017, under the title “a prayer for the soulless”

only when you stay awake late enough can you hear
the sound of daybreak, a town slowly coming alive
as you wonder if you still are

you count every breath you spend staring
at the ceiling, watching the corners collect dust
the small patches of dirt remind you of your sins

you wait for the quetiapine to wear off, as if it ever worked

the bad dreams are proof that you cannot trust
your own mind
survival, to you, is having to stay awake

Do not fight it, my mother recites
every night like a litany

she believes my soul can be salvaged
with a couple anticonvulsants and some prayers
but do miracles even work on an agnostic?

against the moonlight, your scars look like abstract work of art
everyone pretends to understand
your sleeve of shame, your greatest asset
—the best thing about you used to be your pain

Do not fight it, your ghosts tell you
recovery is a lie; the chemicals won’t kill us

try to recall the right way to pray:

oh, Saint Lamictal, help me get through tonight and flush me
with a wave of calm
dear Saint Seroquel, teach me how to forget
the horror of watching my soul’s slow decay

forgive me—
            i still cannot forgive myself



         *Previously published in Black Napkin Press, January 2018

Section 2. The PROJECT TOKHANG is a practical and realistic means of                   violating The
right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable
searches and seizures
                                    against searches of unreasonable excuses to cease

             of whatever nature and for any purpose

This concept involves the conduct of house-to-house visitations to persecute suspected illegal
drug personalities to stop their illegal drug activities
                                                          —it being one of today's more serious social ills

Some of the damaging brain effects of chronic shabu use may be permanent, while others may
resolve partially if one surrenders
           or dies in the hands of the authorities.“You must remember that those who are into shabu
                                                                                for almost one year are practically dead.

           They are of no use to society anymore.”

the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized
—determined personally by whoever has the badge
no examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant
the complainant can neither affirm nor deny when he has a gun in his mouth

Section 1. deprivation of life, liberty, or property without due process of law
               denial of the equal protection of the laws

is the policy of the State to safeguard the integrity of its territory

from the harmful effects of dangerous drugs
acts or omissions detrimental to their development and preservation

                       and the well-being of its citizenry particularly the youth?
                                             —“I don’t care about human rights, believe me.”

Toward this end, the government shall pursue an intensive and unrelenting campaign


We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of our Almighty             president
in order to build a just and humane society, and establish a Government that shall embody our

"Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there is three million drug addicts.
I'd be happy to slaughter them"

           to promote the common good, conserve and develop the patriarchy
           secure to ourselves and our posterity, the blessings of bended laws and a regime of false

Do ordain and promulgate this Constitution;
           resist and he pulls the trigger.

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ELIZABETH RUTH DEYRO is the Founding Editor-in-Chief of The Brown Orient, the Fiction Editor of Rag Queen Periodical and |tap| lit mag, and the Nonfiction Editor of Cauldron Anthology. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Moonchild Magazine, Ellipsis Zine, Jellyfish Review, Black Napkin Press, L'Éphémère Review, Affinity Magazine, and The Tempest, among others. Find her on