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Fireball

fireball-booze

Author: Meredith C.

There are no good words to explain, no shovel precise enough
to dig that deep around the arteries and veins
to that fiery heart at 120 beats
pounding beneath the wooden lid of this disease.

but let me try, as I sit on the broken planks
I clawed my own way through
fingernails still full of dirt and splintered pine
all these years later.

I leave them that way to remember
how from that wrecked last day on my knees
I waved the bloody white flag of no more
not knowing for sure what that would mean.

Which is how I found you, all fury and flash
running so fast between each Marlboro red
dancing demon on the bottle of your favorite nip
not even close to done, your will as tough as old leather.

That day at the hospital, possessed
you tore the tubes from your skin
and snaked past the nurses and out the door
to the hot summer heat of your cinnamon whiskey.

So many days lost and so were you
out there somewhere and making sure
that if you were alive to tell it,
you would have quite the story one day.

Adding to that tale, 66 proof of promises and lies
until from someone else’s shaking hands
you felt the rough jab of the needle
so deep in your young vein for the very first time.

Then coming to in a dirty unlit hallway
no one is too good for anything out there
not even you, crawling to a stop
a new depth dug at your last call.

From the constant scratches underneath the lid
from your brown eyes wild, I could see
miles across the char and flame
this one here, she is just like me.

And once all the fight and flight bled out
nothing left but the ragged sleep of a haunted heart
with just enough fear left to flee
and enough to know there is nowhere else to go.

And now with heart calm and eyes clear
the demon long exorcised from your blood
you are the fireball, a red hot ball of fire that will streak across the dark day
you once slid beneath, dreaming of the end.

No longer pulling up the warm blanket of dirt that thudded down
and scattered across the lid, you let me sit with you
on your broken planks, your fingernails still full of dirt and pine
and your will as tough as new leather.

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