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Three years old, I saw you
brown strands of dandruff
laced with stone eyes and
threaded lips; my hands
squeezed your body against
my chest, and I wondered
why you wouldn’t hug back.

A powdered stain from sobs resided
in your chest, I built a
house of blankets and counted bruises
and soothed my crying legs
and wondered why you wouldn’t hug back.

I pulled needles from my brain
and sewed his face to yours.
The knife slammed through your gut
and tore bits of cotton from its crevasse;
I clasped my teeth around your eye
and yanked it out and apologized
and asked if you could hug back.

I looked at the eyepatch, at your
syrup colored body scarred in cotton,
and resting by the driveway on
garbage day. I watched you
suffocate in plastic as the truck
yanked its load down the street. I felt
her lips press against my hair
as she asked me why
I wouldn’t hug back.
I burn my city away on cheap nights,
eight glasses wasted on a dry throat.

The sound of boots squishing raw soil
set a course of sirens through my rotting
ears, jerking my dilated pupils
into the boiling sun, crying in the
presence of my son,

yet there I am,
seated among thinly threaded confessions,
surrounded by faces reminding me of headaches
on Monday mornings.

I can smell their toasted hair under my gaze,
when they say, "quitting is taking back your life,"
yet I could pay for a Friday bar
night with a bald boy,
suffocating under the weight
of a cold rib-cage,
until I screamed at them to pull the plug.
Sort of a fictional story in poetic form about alcoholism and other things.

— The End —