Start alone, taking wine in tiny sips.
Notice tinges now: a soft flush
deep in your hollowed
insides, a rush in your warm ears.
Dance ballet on the carpet.
Let go of your voice.
Visit the guy down the hall. You don’t
really like him, but after you finish
each glass he asks, Another?
Sashay to the bathroom sink at two a.m.
Stream the faucet loud. You are fertile
soil. Irrigate. Stretch your mouth
as wide as your face can hold.
Let the boy you think you love
pour you a red solo cupful
of Fruit Loops vodka at a house party.
Lean closer. Speak in secret tones.
Recognize all time as one block
of dark matter.
Take eight double shots of tequila
with the boy you might definitely
love now. Let him hold you
upright as you walk back
from a poetry reading, where
you fell backward in your chair
and stared at the ceiling
to catch a metaphor skimming by.
Relate a forty-five minute epic
about the dynasty of your tank
of childhood carnival goldfish
in a flawless New Jersey accent.
Run across the road when cars
are coming. Lean over the balcony
at the jazz concert, waving
to the tiny musicians.
On a Monday night, sneak into
your boy’s closet because he leaves
his door unlocked. Find his Juarez Gold.
You want a shot? It’s for my birthday,
some guy you’ve never met offers.
Your boy gives you a look. He knows
you’re already gone, watched you
drink a whole glass of wine
like you couldn’t get it down
fast enough. Shout, It’s for his birthday!
throwing your hands in the air.
Require birthday guy to walk you
home. The concrete path and dimly lit
hallway, all an abyss. Holding a key
beside a doorknob faintly evokes
some connection between
two objects. Green slips of paper
fall from your wallet. Laugh, hand
the key to the guy. He takes care
of getting you inside. You think:
we’re apples, as you’re chewed
to your core, seeds swallowed.
Throw up bile all day.
Promise a friend you’re done.
She takes you seriously, will
help. Regret your promise.
Last three weeks, counting
the days. On a Wednesday night
drink again, chardonnay
from a box. It’s like your religion
came back: you are one
with the Dao. Whisper, I missed
you. I missed you putting me
to bed like my mother. I’m
sorry for neglecting you.
She says, It’s okay.
Favorite drink is Campari and soda with a slice of orange.
Quinn Forlini (she/her) has writing published or forthcoming in Catapult, X-R-A-Y, Longleaf Review, Jellyfish Review, and elsewhere. She earned her MFA from the University of Virginia and lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. You can find her on Twitter @quinnforlini.
image: Paul Ruta • paulthomasruta.com • @paulruta