UNTITLED: From the Archive

By Rae Brown, originally published in the December 2011 issue

The story of Nick still sticks, living on boats and in tents
A-walling an orphanage, a homeless kid traveling around the Pacific
His childhood “if you would call it that,” was more than unfortunate
From eight to 11 he had to grow up quick
Despite the day labor and the work when he apple picked
Nick fixed his eyes on higher achievements
To that 11-year-old it was a great opportunity to work the canneries of the Alaskan fishing    industry. 
But as much as misery loves company, before he could reach 33
Alone one night he was attacked with no witness to see
His skull cracked when the crowbar smacked and took his memory
Nick woke up in an Anchorage hospital with a brain injury
No longer able to deal with society, not knowing who to trust, everybody was a potential  enemy 

Cutting all ties to the world, he couldn’t go back to work again
He spent the next several years on the streets panhandling and selling heroin
Before I continue there is something I want you to understand
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) happens to veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan
In other words, the problem of one can be the problem of any man
Life comes at you fast
Take time to remember where you stand
Today
Tomorrow ■