love song for an alcoholic, from an alcoholic
I am unfamiliar when the clouds come
across your eyes, and still, you have no mother.
she is buried somewhere, same as my father:
different knives, and still, the same bed.
you suckle from days-old bottles like
honey can birth itself, like nectar is not hard-
earned, like a body could sacrifice
without giving something in return.
I, too, reach the end and wonder where
I offer the palms of my hands, take bites
from my arms in communion, pray I will
find another way to fill my belly. you ask how
to keep your eyes open while being gutted.
I tell you the fable of stitches as I, a myth,
bleed out onto the kitchen floor somewhere
back in the dust of 2010.
you ask with your mother’s teeth, through
your father’s mouth. I cannot find the words
to say that you were the one who taught me.
we fashion our fingers into fishhooks,
I become my mother’s cheeks and my father’s
we become tiny sliver moons that find
their first meal inside of one another. you sleep
outside and hope to be raked up. I crawl backward
into your skull and cannot sleep for weeks.
It looks so much like my own,
sourness and god wrap their bodies around
one another until we cannot tell the difference.
I spill the honey on the carpet, you tell me
to look away, as if I cannot recognize the sound
of desperate teeth and tongue clawing
at what is not yet soaked up. I hold your head
and call you by my father’s sickness,
by the name we share: we bring
the knives into bed and teach them
how impossible it is to sleep still
when they are tugging at the pieces of us
that have already been opened. blood recognizes
blood. thirst is the god of glass.
we make ourselves a home of bottles
and call the graveyard a cathedral.
I am love and all its hatred when we are
empty tin at the edge of the bed.
I am both my mother and my father:
the pleading to stop and the promise
that he never begun. and so in this bed,
we are four: that dichotomy of we.
we both are, breathing, knotting in what in
me loves what in you, and what in me
is flood, come to hold onto you.
and if we are the bottom of the bottle
we were born into, we will always
reach it. if we are the bed of our
parents, we will always be undone.
By Emma Bleker
Emma Bleker is a 21 year old writer working for her English degree in Virginia. She has previously been published in Persephone’s Daughters, Cahoodaloodaling, Yellow Chair Review, Thought Catalog, Rising Phoenix Review, and Skylark Review, among others. She probably wants to be your friend.