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Portrait of the Alcoholic Floating in Space with Severed Umbilicus

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in Fort Wayne I drank the seniors        Old Milwaukee
Old Crow         in Indianapolis I stopped         now I regret
every drink I never took        all around          coffee grounds
and eggshells      this sweating         a mouthful
of  lime        as a boy I stole a mint green bra
from a laundromat       I took it home to try on
while my parents slept       filled its cups with the smallest
turnips in our pantry       the underwire grew
into me like a strangler fig       my blood roiled then
as now       back on earth frogspit is dripping
down wild aloe spikes       salmon are bullying
their way upstream       there is a pond I leapt into once
with a lonely blonde boy       when we scampered out one of us
was in love      I could not be held responsible
for desire       he could not be held at all     I wonder
where he is now       if he looked up he might see
me      a sparkling     I always hoped that when I died
I would know why        my brother will be so sad      he will tell
his daughter I was better than I was     he will leave out
my crueldrunk nights       the wet mattresses      my driving alone
into cornfields unsure whether I’d drive out       I wish
he were here now        he could be here      this cave
is big enough for everyone        look at all the diamonds

Source: Poetry (October 2016)

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This poem originally appeared in the October 2016 issue of Poetry magazine

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Portrait of the Alcoholic Floating in Space with Severed Umbilicus

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