This poem was first published in the 2014 HWA Poetry Showcase Volume I, an anthology by the Horror Writers Association. I have another poem, “Fiend,” in this year’s collection, Volume II, as well. You can buy the ebook for $2.99 on Amazon and add the book to your Goodreads shelves!
Light and Liquor
By the time I’d make it to the mine,
well before the sun rose every morning,
I was tired and thirsty.
I worked all day like the devil sat
right here on my shoulder,
and sunlight was gone by the time
I came out of that Hell.
I used to tell my wife, “Honey,
when I die, don’t bury me.
Place me above ground
so I can finally see the light.”
I thought she knew I meant it.
By the time I’d get home each night,
the only thing that could cut
the film of mine-water from my tongue
was a sharp, cold quaff of liquor.
After two or three, I’d lean back,
cross my coal-stained hands on my belly,
and say, “Honey, when I die,
stash a little bottle in there with me,
won’t you?” I thought she knew
I wasn’t kidding.
Lungs and liver failed at once,
put me out of my misery…
but now I’m down here in this hole,
alone, buried in darkness—
just like when I was alive—
and the wood sags with moisture
and things worm through damp dirt
and water drips on my shriveled skin,
and damn, but I’m thirsty.
© Annie Neugebauer, 2010.
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