Rachel Anna Neff

The Reason I Don’t Keep Whiskey in the House

Six shots in water glass to sleep
enough where your drunken
shaking couldn’t wake me.

In half-sipped sleep, I felt you
claw at my hair and clothes
with hands of Keystone and Camel.

When all you left behind were nightmares
of your scent, it still took eight shots
at the bar and three shots at home

to rinse out the taste of tobacco, Tecate,
Tarantula tequila, out of anyone’s mouth
who made me feel more than misery.

Whiskey no longer drowns
how the surgeon sliced the parts
you broke to where no salve

of sour mash could solve the scars
sewn into this body that doesn’t feel,
or bleed, or birth, or forget.

Rachel Anna Neff has written poetry since elementary school and has notebooks full of half-written novels. She earned her doctorate in Spanish literature and holds an MFA. Her work has been published in JuxtaProse Literary Magazine, Crab Fat Magazine and included in several anthologies. Her published works include “The Haywire Heart and Other Musings on Love,” “Chasing Chickens: When Life after Higher Education Doesn’t Go the Way You Planned,” and two erasure poems in Erase the Patriarchy!

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