WRITTEN BY MICHELLE HUANG
on a rainy sunday afternoon, the apologist
goes into a phone booth the shape of her skull
and dials 1-800-REGRETS
a green flask of grief strangled
by her fingers dangles by her side.
she slides into the coin slots
round, metallic disks of her hardened blood
and as she waits for a response she swigs
a whisper of grief, smooth and defeated
down her throat.
on the other side of the receiver
unknown faces, amicably quiet,
bring to her the breathing of her apologees
thankfully quiet and thankfully asleep
who do not yet know of this strange alcoholism
and she presses the receiver closer to her cheeks
her tears sealing the deal
between plastic and flesh
like a kiss.
her breath, tainted with grief,
hits the receiver and curls back into her nostrils
its fumes an acute sting that muddles her brain,
melting open her heart like effacing a caul
from a sodden newborn, and like a newborn
she wails, deep into the small mouth
of her flask, stirring the grief
whose fumes circle down her throat
and fill a decanter the shape of her stomach.
grief came back to her, long after midnight
where, the empty flask of it loitering
until the witching hour to gleam
rose again from her body as black ink—
the fleeting kind that stains––
a momentary black that reverts to skin.
it stains her brain a fuming pitch
and in the morning, she reaches for them—
hard little pellets
with their strings of vowels and consonants,
her own hard-packed clumps of DNA—
and smears them onto a page.