Eight quarts on the table
before you. The bootlegger
has retreated to the shadows,
awaits your taste test.
Nameless liquor the color
of your ex-wife’s eyes.
You uncork the first bottle,
smell almond, pumpkin,
something earthier. Decant
into a shotglass shaped
like the skull of Australopithecus
Afarensis, raise it to your
lips. Pause. Wonder why no one
hires tasters anymore. You think
you see his eyes gleam
there in the dark. Freeze
with the rim of the glass on your
bottom lip. This tableau may sit
static for all eternity.

Robert Beveridge makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry just outside Cleveland, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Pink Litter, The Ignatian, and YuGen, among others.

featured image: “Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette,” by Vincent Van Gogh

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