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
leaving powdery piles of the winter’s skin
at the end of two thin, but constant,
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,
of ivory keys tapping against bone,
her heels coming home.
Sober, he imagined all the colors those bottles
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
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