–After Kaveh Akbar
Sometimes I wonder if the room can smell
my thoughts, the stench of wine or whiskey
clings to me like wet clothes or a pet
that loves me, can’t stand not to
be in my presence. I am learning
to wobble again. How one foot
can be placed ever so slightly in front
of the other, halfway in the future
like go this way, don’t sway too far
from side to side, people are looking.
They can see the sin in my eyes. They feed
on my hurt the way clouds consume the sun.
Do you remember me sober? Do you remember
the way my laughter lingered in a room?
By ‘you’ I mean ‘I’.
Do I listen to the way my body settles at night?
Do I remember how it said no more?
How the last drink I took drowned me
like a child at birth, baptized, breathing in
too much water. How his cries fall mute in that ocean.
James O’Bannon was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and currently resides in Fresno, California. He is a graduate of the Northern Kentucky University creative writing program and a current MFA candidate at Fresno State University. His writing has appeared in Spry Literary Journal and Flies, Cockroaches, and Poets.