NEW CORINTHIANS (for Conrad) By Cate LeBrun


I start and don’t stop. I am

the niece of an alcoholic. I am the niece of
alcoholics. there are miles between us and
the road but I am the car going nowhere, testing
breaks while the engine steams. there I am, holding
hands with ghosts. the opposite nature of things:
the death growing from the palms that popped pills

that held mine. the left not knowing what the right
was doing. isn’t that biblical? our souls heavy and
light. our lies real. I move in both worlds. I drink
holy and vice from the same cup, love like it’s both.
I cling to obsession the way praying hands fold
though I’m trying to be new. I am alight

with the grace of souls bent by barbed wire-
love is strong enough to cut muscle. love
is patient but time twists, making creases
in hands around handles of 80 proof. I try
to be selfless, and kind. it is hard to be tender
with memories. it is tough to be gentle with the
photographs of faces that haunt. I am jealous
of futures that do not exist

yet hope and light do. I believe in resurrection
but this does not erase a body count. I still see
the smiles of heartbeats long gone in others. in
my cousin. in the mirror

wrinkles like ripples in a pond, a smile breaking
the surface. skipping rocks across the
top. there is truth somewhere among
the depth of it all, and rejoicing
just below it.

By Cate LeBrun


Cate LeBrun is a writer and special education teacher from Pasco, Washington. She enjoys the hell out of dad jokes, kindness, and the view of Mt. Rainier on a sunny day. Her work has been published in Words Dance Magazine, Gonzaga University’s Reflection, and on her mom’s refrigerator. You can find her at, along with poetry and prose surrounding the issues of addiction, recovery, and the beauty in this gorgeous, broken world.

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