None of that will do
I said.
One hundred proof, unvarnished.
Tear the roof right out of your mouth
Just to speak it. Sizzle the synapses
Just to think it. Burn a hole in your
Rot gut so bad the body’ll quiver
Like seizure, the arms flap a
Pump and jerk, like one of those
Old mountain moonshiners who swigged it
Long and deep, danced a square, a hoot and a holler
Just to live with it.

It’s hard to say when the body first fails the mind –
Constitution crawls at the feet of conviction
But water, I find, makes a delicate addition to
Cocktails and confession; liberates, they say
The robust bouquet
Of a biting but closed condition.
And ice, oh, that’s nice for the chill of relief
From the molten lava you’re serving.
I’ll sit by the window. I’ll glow in the sunset.
I’ll savor the truth of my youth.
Don’t share what you’re thinking. I’m drinking.


originally published in Eclipse, Fall 2003

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