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

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

To learn more about Kaveh Akbar, visit his website by clicking here, or visit his page on the Poetry Foundation’s website by clicking here.

And by clicking on this link, you will be taken to a Poetry Foundation page that has a recording of the author reading this very poem.

This poem comes from Kaveh Akbar’s book Calling a Wolf a Wolf. Click here to purchase.

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