Requiem for Whiskey

I don’t actually drink whiskey, I
use it as a metaphor for the things
designed to distract me from the fact we’re dying.

This is what it’s like to be pregnant at 17. This is
what it’s like to grow up without a father. This is what
it’s like to watch the Atlantic swallow your childhood

sandcastles. You may not know this yet, but not everything
heals over time. Cancer doesn’t heal; it leaves your uncle’s
ghost on the living room couch. This is what it’s like

to switch schools four times in the fourth grade. This is
what it’s like to live in a trailer park. This is what
it’s like to upgrade to a domestic violence shelter,

then downgrade to a homeless shelter. This is what
it’s like to live with a bipolar single mother. This is
what it’s like to never want to go home from school. This

is what it’s like for the school bus to be warmer than
your home in the winter. This is what it’s like to press
a water gun to your head. This is what it’s like to be a hopeless kid.

This is what it’s like to forget yesterday. This is
what it’s like to shake hands with Jack Daniel. This is
what it’s like to be distracted from every memory

that might kill me. This is what it’s like to love.

Zachary Cooper is currently an undergraduate at SUNY Brockport, studying Creative Writing. He is from a small agricultural town outside of Albany, New York. He has four poems forthcoming in the 2017 issue of SUNY Brockport’s Jigsaw magazine. Zachary hopes to pursue a career as both a writer and professor of English.

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