I Often Think About Taking
up drinking, wonder if there is still enough
time for me to become a functioning alcoholic.
I have failed so spectacularly at everything else.
I am almost 40, have nothing
that society considers to be acceptable.
No house. No husband. No hope
of changing any of that any time soon.
I spend my time taking care of other people’s lives.
Friends. Family. Even strangers
tell me I resemble a doormat. So I stare
at those glittering bottles, curious
as to what form of oblivion each would offer.
Inevitably, I give up, close
the cupboard, go to bed, cry
another night to sleep.
The submarine was filled
with the eyes of a friend I had not seen
in fifteen years. Blue as an ocean
of memories, I was hypnotized
by their rising. Blinking in hypnotic tandems,
I could see myself seeing them
as if for the first time. I thought
for a moment they might be mine,
until our communal laughter turned gray,
fell from lashes, evaporated tears. I was left,
unfallen in a crashing vision of would-be
death, but when the last
breath was sucked from my lips, I found I
no longer needed it. I was the ghost
of bitter swallowings, but I had been
granted forgiveness and eternal reprieve.
A.J. Huffman has published thirteen full-length poetry collections, thirteen solo poetry chapbooks and one joint poetry chapbook through various small presses. Her most recent releases, The Pyre On Which Tomorrow Burns (Scars Publications), Degeneration (Pink Girl Ink), A Bizarre Burning of Bees (Transcendent Zero Press), and Familiar Illusions (Flutter Press) are now available from their respective publishers. She is a five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a two-time Best of Net nominee, and has published over 2600 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, The Bookends Review, Bone Orchard, Corvus Review, EgoPHobia, and Kritya. She is the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.