I stand in my bathrobe on the front porch with my coffee.
I take out my flask and return it to my pocket
as if I were a kid again and everything bad had to be a race.

I watch my neighbor stand in her bathrobe across the street,
staring at the empty road between us. It makes me sad

to think that people are dying everyday
because of this and I’m getting drunk in the mornings.
I miss hugging people. I wonder if Oprah would call that selfish.

Last night I dreamt I was a dog.
I don’t remember if I was a great dane,
a golden retriever, or a cocker spaniel,

but I suppose you can’t always know who you are
when you’re consumed by a search for serotonin.

I bounced through the sunny neighborhood
with my tail wagging and my ears perked.
I chased rabbits, pissed on trash cans, and moved from house to house,
being snuggled and loved by mothers, fathers, and children.

They fed me half-eaten salmon under their dining room tables
and I think I understood
why humans don’t want to be human sometimes.

At night I cook chili.
I’ve had chili and gin for 26 straight nights.
Why should I change it up now?
If I were living in a game show, I’d be pretty damn close
to having green slime poured over my head.

I walk around the little apartment and press play
on all the cassette players I’ve hidden from room to room.

Above the stove, Aunt Louise
wants another slice of pie.
Between the sofa cushions, my mother yells
at my little brother to pick up his dirty socks.

Out on the balcony
I hear Grandma’s fist on a bathroom door
and I know my cousin is throwing up in the bathtub.

I close my eyes as the voices sink into a rhythm.
I feel like I’ve tripped on a Hot Wheels track
and stumbled back into my childhood bedroom,
some sort of world I can still understand.

I take a deep breath, sit back in my chair,
and spoon chili into my mouth.

The kids are playing Sandman in the backyard
and I know it’s neither light or dark outside.
I take a sip of gin from my glass.

For a split second, I’ve almost convinced myself
they’re all really there.