5. sort out near death experiences, drive to
make sense of it.

(cats have nine lives)

19, severe drinking
problem–so much so that
I had been arrested for
playing the stoplight
game with my boyfriend again.
the stoplight game is something
I made up out of fear of
intimacy: we take a shot of
vodka at every red light.
they found us in a parking
lot; me pissing, and
them thinking I’m a whore.
made me walk a straight line.
made me recite the alphabet backwards.


blow. .28
they were impressed.
i was 123 lbs, 5 7
and I admitted to them
that yes, I’d been drinking.
just five shots,
I said. which wowed them
more. I had taken at least fifteen.

it wasn’t jail but the second
morning of my alcohol group
that almost did me in.
in my shakiness,
I reached for my shot glass
and poured myself my hair
of beagle. certainly, any shot
glass on my shelf would do.

and as I began to gag in horror
feeling the sharp metal in my esophagus,
stuck, people home but
pride will kill you too,
I began to choke,
really choke.
cough and stand up,
clutching my neck,
somehow by iron will
spit the safety pin out
in my hand and recall
in horror, the designation
of that glass as

to keep pennies
and safety pins in.

“near death experience #5”

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