When I was thirteen I resolved myself to become an alcoholic
And with trembling fingers snatched glass bottles
From the high-up cabinet after school.
My stomach, I remember, turned
Nervously, as though I had already been drinking.
But the taste of air above the rim was enough
To get me sick. Even now
My lips pull back and flee from the burning
Of bourbon that’s already been swallowed.
And when friendship reared it’s ugly, tender head
All trembling moved to the heart.
And I, so terrible at forgetting, forget the best things.
What remains is long nights with glasses on the table,
And my body made of crumbs. I cannot be bitter.
It is hard to handle the spirits of these spirits.
Small rooms are dizzying, full of spite
And breath ill-spent. The faces I know
Are now postage stamps I see
Float by in rivers of glowering time.
I will pick them out and press them to my skin,
But what warmth there was now simmers
In bottles above my stove.
In long empty stretches these drops
Have found each other, and inseparable,
All burn together. Friendship
Has made smoke of me.