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(1961 / Woonsocket, Rhode Island)

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The Bottom

I stopped drinking on my way down the hill
to the liquor store when two guys pulled up
and tried to drag me into their pickup. I crossed the street
then ran in the opposite direction, puffing
against the incline. The stranger thrust into reverse
and, when I wouldn't talk to him,
threw a bag of McDonald’s trash at me,
Stuck up bitch. I stopped drinking
when I realized I was fighting
for the vodka at the bottom of the hill
more than I was fighting against the terrible
things that could have happened to me
inside the cab of that rusty Chevy. I stopped drinking
before cell phones. I stopped drinking
after Days of Wine and Roses. I stopped drinking
even as I kept walking to El Prado Spirits
and the guy behind the counter who recognized me
asked if I was alright. I didn't tell him
what had happened because he might have called
the police and then I would have had to wait
for them to arrive to fill out a report, delaying my Smirnoff.
I stopped drinking even before I had that last sip,
as I ran back up the hill squeezing a bottle by its neck.

Submitted: Friday, December 23, 2011


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Comments about this poem (The Bottom by Denise Duhamel )

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  • Joseph Harlacher (1/22/2014 2:48:00 AM)

    don't pick up the bottle till its empty, the lens of what the river does is another weapon that is trying to stay inside
    I suffer these afflictions of social fluctuations by writing about their deliriums in metaphor. unfortunately the richer the restaurant the more intense the waste products hopefully there is no one but you at the top of the hill. I was a snow skier as a teen so I've been conditioned to enjoy the journey down the hill. for what its worth I still love women.

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