Never with alcohol. Never more
than one. Your heart headbangs
its way out of any acceptable range,
its beat erratic, an overzealous
metronome, a mosh-pit shaker
sweaty and bruised—so frantic
they can’t, won’t take your blood.
It’s the nortriptyline, not a bad
organ, but they won’t hear it.
They feed you Teddy Grahams
and send you out the glass doors
with a whoosh of compressed
air. You’re a twisted tin can
that won’t fit in the compactor,
you don’t diagnose easily, that’s why
the cocktail shifts so often. White
film, palpitations, the strobe-light
of oxygen at a shortage. Capsules
to soothe, capsules to breathe
for you, blue and green, green
and white, white and eggshell
like the butter stick my Mimi left
on the counter on a blue-rimmed
plate. Sometimes I’d steal
a lick as it welcomed me home
from school. Don’t eat that,
my Mimi told me. We don’t eat
what we can’t cook up, ourselves.
Kenzie Allen is a descendant of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, and a graduate of the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. She lives in Norway when not at home in Oneida/Green Bay, was
born in West Texas, and tumbleweeds around with frequency. She is a managing editor of the Anthropoid collective.