Body & Ken­tucky Bour­bon

Hello Mr. Magazine - - EDITOR'S NOTE -

In the dark, my mind’s night, I go back to your work-cal­loused hands, your body and the mem­ory of fields I no longer see. Cheek wad of chew to­bacco, Skoal-tin ring in the back pocket of thread­bare jeans, knees worn through en­tirely. How to name you: farm­hand, Ken­tucky boy, lover. The one who taught me to bear the back-throat burn of bour­bon. Straight, no chaser, a joke in our bed, but I stopped laugh­ing; all those empty bot­tles, kitchen coun­ters cov­ered with beer cans and bro­ken glasses. To re­al­ize you drank so you could face me the morn­ing after, the only way to choke down rage at the body sleep­ing be­side you. What did I know of your fa­ther’s back­hand or the pine cas­ket he threat­ened to put you in? Only now, miles and years away, do I wince at the jokes: white trash, farmer’s tan, good ole boy. And now, alone, I see your face at the bot­tom of my shot glass be­fore my own comes through.

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