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Portrait of the Alcoholic with Relapse Fantasy

You’re in a car and crying and amazed

at how bad it feels to do bad things. Then

you’re in a hotel bathroom with blood

on your undershirt and the smell of a too-

chlorinated pool outside. You know

one hundred ways to pray to the gods

rippling beneath that water. Confess, tangle,

pass through. Once your room is dark

they come inside, dripping wet. When you show

them the burnt place on your arm,

they show you the bands of flesh cut

from their thighs. You suck their tongues,

trace the blisters under their wings. It’s so lucky,

this living forever all at once. When you turn

on the lights, you’re inconsolably

glad. You could stop this whenever, but why?

from Calling a Wolf a WolfFind more by Kaveh Akbar at the library

Copyright © 2017 Kaveh Akbar
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Kaveh Akbar Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.