tonight closes in about you
in this minute shack filled up with too much
person— your girlfriend's obese mother
squabbles with scraggly stepdad
over the television in a redneck nightmare,
and the edge-of-hearing rustles
of a mouse clamp tight around your stomach.
it's like talking to a brick wall, your girlfriend
spits as you compose yourself
in the glorified closet that is her bedroom.
your eyes are glazed or closed, i cannot tell,
but it doesn't matter— either way
tobacco smoke stains the cabinets
like yellow teeth, and the world drips
and melts around you like burning filmstrips.
i want to drive you away from this place,
to buy cheap vodka and walk to a park
late at night, to suffer our separate depressions
as family, crosses carried by laughter and liquor tears,
but you are too much like me— we both sit silent
when lovers rage, when the world wafts
ephemeral at the edges of our vision, when drowning—
you're drowning. there is no saving you
with cheap vodka; there is only the percussion
of knife on cutting board, your girlfriend making
bitter dinner as bile rises in our throats.