Pre-Alcoholic

I wish I could tell it better. As
this is a poem. Just
at my desk in rainy

January thinking about
the last night of last year,
when I did something that made me

examine my drinking. I know
I am supposed to talk about what.
So this must be frustrating, the

vagueness. It wasn’t a car crash,
necessarily. I didn’t kill
anyone but, perhaps, the old me,

now a zombie walking
out the dregs of the new
year and hovering

outside my door. He wants
to knock. My knowing his
wanting to knock is

his knocking. And if
I haven’t killed anyone
yet, maybe it should be him.

But I can’t bring myself
to do it. I stopped hard liquor.
And beer, for now. Forever,

maybe. Just saying it
is gunpowder on my tongue.
I can’t stop eating candy,

and I’m very thirsty. But
is selfishness refusing to call
Kaveh’s wolf a wolf? Like

pre-diabetic. What will
kill me is the refusal
to kill.

(originally published in Red Rover Magazine, Spring 2021)

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