“At this point in my life, I never want to have a drop of alcohol again. I never want to attend a social gathering that involves alcohol or any situation where people make decisions based on the substances they have consumed,” —Brock Turner.
I ate chinese food off my diploma,
seated on the hood of my best friend’s Mustang
with her laughter and an ex-boyfriend,
who stared at me and insisted it was meant to be
—the three of us and chinese food.
When my friend was pulled home by her mother,
the ex and I
pointed our cars toward
someone’s boozy backyard bonfire.
He said he regretted breaking up with me
five years ago,
but by that time, I was too busy,
marveling at the fire through a whiskey bottle
and the fact that I’d pressed my lips
where seven others already had
and ten more would after I passed it on.
Maybe my lips were still there when it left my hands, still sharing whiskey
with people who were ember and shadow in the light of the fire,
who I wouldn’t meet then—
as they danced around the flames,
burning themselves on liquor
as tribute to the gods of graduation
When the fire puttered into crushed cans and empty bottles,
I wrapped my tongue around my sip of whiskey,
took my stomachful of unmentioned goodbyes,
and went home to my warm bed,
kicking my shoes off at the door
and slipping off my cardigan.
It fell to the floor,
reeking of campfires and already wrinkling.
It’s been a year since that night—
long enough for the whiskey to burn out
and for my taste buds to forget it ever existed there.
for that night to become a crumbling photograph
tossed haphazardly on a cluttered desk,
influenced neither by alcohol
nor chinese food.