Portrait of the Alcoholic Floating in Space with Severed Umbilicus by Kaveh Akbar | Poetry

Portrait of the Alcoholic Floating in Space with Severed Umbilicus

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

BY KAVEH AKBAR

Source: Poetry (October 2016)

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