Life has never once taken a cigarette break.
My father used to smoke when he drank.
He drank when he wasn’t sure. His father did this, and his too.
Heredity sounds like a supervillain. I imagine
it rides around in a fast car, with big guns, spreading vice.
When I tell this to my therapist I like to think
there’s an audience clapping for me. The applause continues
when I empty my bottle in the toilet, instead of the fish bowl,
where I’ve placed my friends, until they float or find higher
expectations. Makes me thirsty. Even the sun
and black holes have to stop spinning at some point.
Will I know I’ve stopped, if I can’t tell the difference
between a curse and a gift? When I see someone
at a party with no one to talk to, it feels as painful
as the first time I met my reflection. Eventually you stop staring,
close your eyes and hope to not choke on the worm
someone hid inside your guts. Relief arrives in the form of more
people: more chances riding ponies, chasing rainbows.
Who is God this time? My blood or the shadow that grows more
certain with each birthday, dancing behind the cake’s candles;
a knife held in its palm. I used to wish for anyone else’s life.
I never told them. Then I wished for one dry breath.
One time when I was childish, I was given a coke
that tasted pure as gold; its green stain still
haunts my tongue. Jesus’ blood brings eternal life,
so I drink, soon I’m a ship captain sailing the river Styx.
“With regard to my recent behavior” is how I begin my reconciliations,
which is ironic when the only regard ever repaid me
was from corner store cashiers. Hostages might’ve said
the same for Olsson. I wonder if he wore a balaclava
like this gene of mine that’s been sticking me up since before we crossed
the Atlantic. Before we learned how to swim.
Before I found him behind my eyes, dragging me back to sea.