black & white photo of a stocked bar

i feel sick without it by alyssa hanna

Note: This poem first appeared in Rising Phoenix Review.

CW: sexual assault

i heard from a friend that you’re
sober now. or at least that’s what
you’re telling people. essential oils,
incense, candles, teacups with tea in them
instead of red wine mixed with stoli
or some other just-as-highbrow cocktail.
you were the one who told me that vodka was
my color, and the best accessories were black
skirts and bad company. you swallowed my rent
in a shot glass. but now, i hear, you’re

sober. a bartender who told me to build
up my liver, pound ‘em back
like a god damn adult. “i’m not
an alcoholic, and neither are you. have a glass
of smirnoff every morning; it only counts if you feel
sick without it.” you never got sick. not once.
you pushed me into a silver

car with a hungry wolf and told me
i should not have been such a
fucking deer. pour me deep eddy, pour
me three olives, pour me into the glass
cannon of a strip club and tell me that going along with
these boys is fine, pour me grey goose, ask me if i want
another free drink if i stay blackout and drooling with
you where we find ourselves in the back of a taxi where we
wake up on the balcony where i blink and you’re trading
me for an old fashioned where
were you sober when i needed you

alyssa hanna‘s poems have appeared in Reed Magazine, The Mid-American Review, The Naugatuck River Review, Rust + Moth, Pidgeonholes, and others. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, a finalist in the 2017 James Wright Poetry Competition, and a semi-finalist for The Hellebore scholarship. alyssa is a Contributing Editor at Barren Magazine, and works as a copywriter by day. She lives in New York with her four funny lizards. follow her @alyssawaking on twitter, instagram, ko-fi, tumblr, and patreon.

Lead image: “Bigfoot Bar” (via Flickr user Sean Davis)