Kristin Laurel

Handcuffed at two o’clock in the afternoon
her blond hair is highlighted with red streaks
her diamond earrings are caked
like her face in a mask of brownish red blood.

Her breath smells of a dead rotten rodent
curled up and trapped inside her throat
She looks right at me: “Don’t judge me, bitch,
you don’t know a fucking thing about alcohol.

Her officer says: “She was pulled over for erratic driving
she blew .30, and when we put her in the squad car
she began banging her head against the cage
until she cracked her head open.”

The glazed red lines in her eyes have a story to tell
a gentler path of tears roll down her cheeks as
she sobs: “You don’t know a thing about alcohol.”
“I know a little,” I say.

And that’s all it took–
that, and taking off the handcuffs,
telling her she’s only here so we can stitch her up.
She opened up like an artery …

I love rehab I’ve been three times,
I’ve got three kids at home,
they’re going to be so disappointed with me.
I was doing so good, I was sober for a year, then

my dad died a month ago.
I went over to the house today to mow the lawn,
and found my dad’s bourbon.
You don’t know alcohol like I do,

how strong it is, how it consumes you,
drowns the person right out of you–
You don’t know a thing about alcohol—
My Father’s last words were:

“Make me a stiff one.”