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Bottles Reflect

 

He stopped drinking the day she left.

Or did she leave the day he stopped?

He wasn’t even sure the day he decided

to pick up

all of the bottles

to line them up.

 

He filled every first-floor windowsill

with his Bourbons and Gins,

amber mists and frozen lakes—

ice that might have been skated on

‘til somebody stopped

short,

leaving powdery piles of the winter’s skin

at the end of two thin, but constant,

lines.

 

Blades paint lakes in parallels until

that somebody, she, stops short.

 

He lined them up on the sills and emptied

every bit of furniture into the night.

Then, he sat in the center of the thick, pine floorboards

to wait for the light.

Indian-style, or criss-cross

apple sauce, she’d correct,

and thought

of ivory keys tapping against bone,

her heels coming home.

 

Sober, he imagined all the colors those bottles

would heave

at the floor and walls and the empty

corner, where their bed used to live:

paint what’s left in orange beaks, indigo eyes, and

yellows tipped with blue and poppy,

like her favorite sweater.

Or maybe even crystals, sharp rectangular rainbows

and sepia drenched splashes would warm the walls.

 

He sat without color, sober.

And when that sun finally rose,

it brought nothing.

He looked at the pale white walls

and back at the bottles he had held on to for years.

They were too dirty—

too covered in his choices,

the skin and the dirt from the lines of his hands,

to let the morning through.

 

He wondered if he might have it in him to take each one

down, to clean them, carefully, individually, to try

again

when he remembered,

there was no soap left.

 

It was her job to buy more.

 

**
**

Janna Grace lives in a half-glass barn and her work has been published in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Plastik Magazine, and Cut a Long Story, among others. She has pieces forthcoming in Eunoia and Ref Eft Review and she teaches writing at Rutgers University. Her debut novel will be published through Quill Press in 2019. For more, visit JannaLiggan.com

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