To flatter my liver, I pretend to give up bourbon. The winter dark swirls around the house, looking for a place to settle. Lamplight on the snow, butter on white bread. I’m drinking lemon ginger tea, like any good yuppie nerd. I wash it down with a cracker the size of a postage stamp. I miss the rush of dizzy to my brain, the oomph of contentment in a properly hydrated midsection. I miss the clink of ice in a glass rebuking the ice on the walkways. My liver, though, regrets those long evenings in the Toga bar or the Penguin Lounge. Most of the friends who gathered to parse the literary world have died of dreadful cancers. Sometimes their ghosts press at the windows, not to rebuke me for outliving them but for my failure to drink enough to make up for their forced abstinence. I wish I could accommodate their wispy desires. But before I join them in their historical oblivion, I’d like to discipline myself into moderation that even the stippled winter stars could respect. How far away is the nearest neighboring galaxy? Some night in a fit of indulgence, I’ll drink myself over that whole distance, landing with both feet in puddles of fire.
William Doreski’s work has appeared in various e and print journals and in several collections, most recently Train to Providence, a collaboration with photographer Rodger Kingston.