An American Aquarium Drinker

The group and the prayer and the behavior modification stop working eventually and then you will revert, you know this ahead of time, so you do what you always do when you’re lectured about drinking so much: you pour yourself a tall glass with one ice cube and stir it around with your finger before transferring it into a Dixie cup and then you leave, you walk out, into the piss-pour parts of the city late at night because everyone else is drunk like you, tongue-tied like you, frustrated like you, alone or very well could be like you, but before you get to the end of your drink your foot catches in a grate, your knees buckle and your wrists flap again the rough sidewalk and you’ve got yourself a fine set of cuts and a bloodied chin and what’s left of the drink is puddled around your ass like you’ve gone and pissed yourself, so you sit there, licking ribbons of blood off your hands like a wounded cat and wait for the rye to dry and the pain to subside and you imagine how nice, how really goddamn nice it would be for the sun to come out in this black dead of night, just this once while the rest of the big city sleeps, so you could make your way uptown and dig out your keys and get back for one more dose and the dizzy spell of those goodnight dreams.

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