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Binge, Circa 1881

From Vine Leaves Literary Journal

Order, reason, time--all gone.

Effie has taken his hand, or he has taken her hand

She has followed him up the hill, or he has followed her.

He has tongued either her neck or those ropy tendons

on the underside of wrist. Neither. Both

He has or has not considered licking her ankle bone.

She offers him another drink from his own flask.

Go ahead, Isaac. After all, you're still upright.

No. Effie's a teetotaler. like her father. He must have

offered himself the drink.

Just go ahead, Isaac. After all, you're still upright.

"Will you be drunk forever, Isaac?" She takes her hand

away, if she ever gave it to him in the first place.

"Maybe." Or maybe not. It's the only time he's ever

been drunk, or the third time. Or the eighth. However

long it's been since the wedding. He checks with Effie.

"Julia got married?"

"Of course she did."


Don't be stupid, Isaac.

Three nights ago. Four? Six.

"Don't ever tell me when


He may or may not now imagine Effie is her sister Julia,

or ask her to pretend she is. Allow her to, mavbe at her

own suggestion. He may confess how when he sleeps

Julia leaks from his lips and his dreams and the corners

of his eyes. How she always will. He may not use her

sister's name at all, or say it once, or many times, whis-

pered. Effie may not slap him. Effie may bite. The

marks could be from anybody's teeth, if they're even

really there.

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