[I wrote this poem sometime last year and read it publicly for the first time during my Write On! feature at the Lee Road Phoenix in Cleveland Heights.  Recently, a magazine I’d offered it to decided not to use it after all.  So I’ll share it here instead.]

Green Heart

Absinthe is not an electronic keyboard you play with your midsection muscles but a green liquor sleeping with wormwood stashed behind the Zohar in my basement bookcase.  In this case, brand name Absente, it’s 136 proof and came with its own golden slotted spoon you can rest on your glass, liquor on the bottom, sugar cube on the top.  Pour water slowly over the sugar til it dissolves, turning the liquid white and cloudy, then pour the concoction slowly down your throat until your fear and occasional paranoia dissolve into white cloudy apparent clarity. 

Last night I couldn’t be with you, so I opened the bottle, surprised how much it smelled like licorice, tasted like ouzo but smoother, probably because wormwood numbs the tongue like cocaine, and got high on the thought of you and the thought of the feel of you and the feel of the green then white and cloudy liquid that took me to you or away from feeling you absent and reminded me what I love and don’t always love but sometimes miss about loving you.  As I poured a second glass of green and dissolved a second sugar cube over it into further white cloudy apparent clarity, a thought occurred to me, sending me to find my journal and write it down. Absinthe makes the heart fonder.