Two Poems

by Sarah A. O’Brien

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we met between lovers

we met between lovers
we met in the shadow of a last laugh;
we met on purpose.
my lukewarm heart ready to let light linger,
to enter an epoch of uninhibited hip movements,
of reckless decision-making done—for once—sober.

sobriety looked good on me.
of course, I was plastered when we met,
still stuck in abeyance thanks to the hell-sent hangover
of great love gone wrong.
you did not buy me drinks, did not try to undress me
(although my cleavage and I tried our hardest),
just gave me seven numbers to call “tomorrow.”

I don’t usually do this, I told my phone between pills and water.
let’s go for a walk, you insisted every day for a week until, finally,
I walked you into my bed, between purple sheets.
I don’t usually do this, you said between soft kisses,
multitudes of moans.

logistics broke it off, distance is a jealous imp.
your mirror my next lover, could’ve been your brother.
never got over that steering-wheel smirk, sidelong sliver;
I revisit our bar, sit for a while, long for a liver
so a ghost could get drunk with her ghost.


when ghosts say “booze”

my relationship with alcohol was abusive,
but before this dawned on me, I twirled
on a rooftop with a redhead named Rita,
gave hickeys to every member of my ex-
boyfriend’s mediocre-in-every-regard band,
let mr. freshman-year algebra unhook my bra
nine years later on a beach by his summer home,
hit my younger brother so hard his crooked nose
earned him grade school infamy as “Bent Ben,”
spit in the face of an employer hitting on me
over store-bought cookies at our holiday party,
fell up a flight of stairs more than a few times,
broke my arm, broke my phone, lost my wallet,
lost my friends, broke dreams of a dozen lovers,
broke down in tears again and again and another time,
got lost in a majestic maze of Florentine streets,
got broke gambling somewhere in Connecticut,
threw up a first date on a French guy’s lap,
marinated in regret of countless blacked-out
non-memories, pretended to find the photographs
as hilarious as everyone else while choking on truth.

a neighbor wondered on a foggy Sunday, “Hey,
why are ya wasted before breakfast; you okay?”
might have said, gotta be shattered to spend time with
your insufferable self. maybe. not proud, nor of
my stint with the anonymous alcoholics, buzzed
at most meetings, pre-gaming in parking lots
with a librarian called Stacks, for two reasons,
and a plumber who told us he was Ted,
but had me call him James later in bed.

met my man the day I was kicked out of AA,
at a dingy dive bar; drinking to forget a certain
anti-Christ who had turned all booze to water,
when those dark eyes reading mine got me drunker
than any liquid; I poured my soul, fell in love
with the way my name sounded as it left his lips.


Sarah A. O’Brien enjoys dark chocolate and light wordplay. Sarah’s work has previously appeared in The Alembic, Every Writer, The Screech Owl, Snapping Twig, Ampersand Literary, Third Point Press, Unbroken Journal, Atrocity Exhibition, and is forthcoming in Allegro Poetry Magazine. Follow her adventures: @fluent_SARAcasm.

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