Remembering those we’ve lost…

Remembering those we’ve lost…

Opioid overdoses are now the leading cause of death for people under 40; and in the US last year, more people died from opioid overdoses than from car accidents. At DESK we’ve lost several people over the years, as recently as this past weekend. Below are a few poems that we selected to honor those we’ve lost during the opioid epidemic. Please feel free to leave a comment in memory of someone you lost. If any of these poems resonate with you, please share your thoughts.


93, 331 by Alicia Cook
In some other timeline
I find you in time,
turn you on your side.
In some other timeline,
I beat the sirens home
and you don’t die alone.
In some other timeline,
you recover⁠— and no one needs to call your mother.


Poem by Peter Jones
Could you walk in our shoes?
Live the lives we do?
No longer here to tell you
The things we have to do.

Everybody judged us
They gave us all a name
When we were out just walking
We’d hang our heads in shame.

So now we’re just a memory
One some choose to forget
But one thing to remember
There will be some more yet.

Not one of us are perfect
May not choose what we do
So please, please remember!
One day this could be you.

So would you like to take a step?
Walk just where we do
If you think it’s easy
Please come and take my shoe.


Fentanyl by Brian Wells Kamloops
Remember, no such thing as safe drugs in the streets.
Dealers cutting product with fentanyl ‘cause it’s cheap.
A hundred times stronger than morphine.
One dose could put you to sleep.
Not talking counting sheep.
Real power, six ODs in an hour.
Being found in weed, pills, and powder.
New fad. Coroner coming to zip you up in a body bag.
Four deaths in a month really sad.
Kids left with no mom or dad, all because the dope they got was bad.
Addiction, an epidemic the black market is glad to have.

Streets not a game, chew you up, spit you out if you’re lucky.
Many people die getting high, just trying to feel normal.
Prison not the answer, a need for more rehab centres.
So, I looked at my own situation I was facing.
Waking every day like I was in the movie Groundhog Day.
Always the same, mentally drained, suffering chronic pain.
Let me be the first to say, I’m an addict.
Understand the hesitation in prescribing narcotics.
So, forced to go see the street doctor. No degree but has what I need.

I plead, Dear God, please don’t be fentanyl in these pills I receive.
No labels or warning, mixed wrong could be fatal.
Talking two extra grains, the size of salt at your kitchen table.
Call of a OD. Coroner records another fatality.
A young girl, age 16, solutions needed.
Funerals continuously being repeated.
Takes one line, one innocent looking line.
Another family left behind, crying a river of pain, drowning in regret.
Death’s never had no respect.


Someone’s Child
Behind every addiction, there is a family that is suffering.
Remembering those who have lost their battle with addiction,
and those who are still suffering.

WNPR: New solutions to assisting unhoused people

WNPR: New solutions to assisting unhoused people

This morning, our Board Secretary, Dr. Caitlin Ryus, joined Mayor Justin Elicker and Amistad Catholic Worker House’s Mark Coville and Suki Godek on WNPR’s Where We Live to discuss new models for providing temporary shelter, as well as the health challenges faced by unhoused people.  It’s a robust and moving discussion, with Dr. Ryus’s interview toward the end (starting at 37:20).  Listen to the whole interview here.  

The number of people who became unhoused in Connecticut increased by 13 percent between 2021 and last year.


And in most places around the country, cities rely on shelters to accommodate people who are unhoused. But those who’ve lived there say this model isn’t working. Families are separated. There’s a 90-day stay limit. There’s little to no security for personal belongings. And at dawn, everyone’s asked to leave, rain or shine.


Today on Where We Live, we hear from the founder of Rosette Village, a transitional housing community on Rosette Street in New Haven. It’s a housing model where people live together with their families and stay for as long as they need to, which can improve health outcomes for unhoused people.


Their tents are provided with electricity. Everyone has lockers for personal belongings. And they say their health has improved. Residents are hoping to live in prefabricated tiny homes set up on site so they can live safely.


Later, we talk about the health impact on people without housing.



  • Suki Godek: an unhoused activist living at Rosette Village
  • Mark Colville: the housing activist behind Rosette Village
  • New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker
  • Dr. Caitlin Ryus: Instructor in Emergency Medicine and the Co-Director of the Yale Emergency Scholars Fellowship