Pour me just a little glass, sugar.
Then put that bottle away.
You know what I say, whiskey
is like my man. Just cause I love it
don’t mean it loves me back. Why
Misters Jameson and Jack Daniels both
done knocked me back so many times—
sliding down my throat like
a hundred barefoot devils fleeing Hell.
Any boy tried something like that, would send his ass
home sideways, crying for his mama’s mama.
Nuthatch that lands under the chair, dodging the swing
of baby legs for the prize of fallen crust,
sullen boy who turns fish as body hits water,
face of the child as legs lift to float for the first time
bagpipes played by a man, shorts replacing kilt,
the clang and snort bouncing
from the trees.
Images made more beautiful by the lack of camera
documented only in the basements and attics of memory
waiting for the right moment to be unpacked.
Helen R. Peterson is the managing editor of Chopper Poetry Journal out of New London, Ct, and has previously published in Fell Swoop, Main Channel Voices, Gloom Cupboard, Tonopah Review, Cartier Street Review, Poor Mojo’s, among others. Her work was also featured in The Work Book, an anthology put out by Poet Plant Press in 2007. She will be reading at the Bowery Poetry Club in Manhattan in November.