DRUNKEN SESTINA


            after the song “Misty Blue”
           
The hour threatened dusk, as usual, again. Night
lumbered forth, dropping you at my door. Day in, day
out, this vigil of waiting. I, as if punch drunk,
stagger and recoil in the vampire sun, sober.
In three tequila words I admitted, “I love
you.”  Your bloodless silence curdled my love to hate.

 

My sister, the sane one, came by. She said, “I hate
when you get like this. It was sex. Sex. A one-night
stand. It is obvious that this one doesn’t love
you—never will. Get up, eat something. Hell, the day
is damn near over. Try to spend one day sober.
I lie silent, Does two weeks straight make me a drunk?
  
Sister leaves and I sip dregs of sake. Once drunk
I lap plum wine—a sweet liquid taste of you. Hate
sears my lips and mind, as I lament the sober   
truth about us. You’re my every night, midnight
lover, coming for me in the darkness. By day-
break, you escape, and I am left to stanch my love.

 

I drift through cycles of comatose sleep. My love
affair is a nightmare. You are the villain, drunk
with your power. I’m an extra, hired day-by-day,
so you can kill me off after the first scene. Hate
and sex, like oil and water, do not mix. Tonight
I will lock my door, refuse you, remain sober.

 

The phone tolls in my ear, ringing grave and sober:
There are two kinds of lies. Lies we tell ourselves, love-
sick and desperate, and the lies poured for us, night
and day, by others. I am tanked on rot gut, drunk,
wanting to believe that if I ply myself with hate,
I can deny both where and how you spend your day.

 

I know you lay lodged between her legs every day.
The vodka bottle taunts, “You can’t do this sober.”
Your hair, thighs, and fingers reek of the smell I hate.
Vodka has no odor, and I’d rather make love—
my lips kissed around the cusp, gulping until drunk
—to eighty-proof liquor than breathe stale sex one more night.

 

A knock at the door come day’s end. It’s too late for love.
Although I’m not sober, I will never be drunk
Enough to hate you—faced with sleeping alone tonight.