54 – Hangover

Hangover

It’s been a luxurious weekend
of friends and over-eating
late night board games
red red wine white sheets
in a bed too big waking up late
and wondering what to do with the day
then the long slow haul back
through Oregon’s central expanse
(which I love in a way
I can’t quite comprehend
or convey and which I expect
Heaven to emulate—distinct
but blurred at the edges
by shifting light caught
behind tremulous clouds
and continuing seemingly forever)
and up and over the mountain

Anyway the hangover
that comes from bourbon
in the hot tub and saunic discussions
about the nature of marriage
and justice and Tennessee
Williams strolls through sun
-banked curves snow-dusted
lodge pole and rim rock
and Sunday traffic lands me
at long last on my couch
with a needy cat who’s been
cooped up in the house
and this poem unspooling
toward a self-imposed deadline
of another day

But even if I pluck all the right words
out of the ether about my wife
sleeping against me in the too-big bed
or the snap of a frozen sage bush
or St. Vincent waxing eloquent
on Weekend Edition—freshly
erudite, languidly tart—or the dark
chasm the Columbia River
opens in my chest, it does nothing
to draw you closer to the truth
I’m immersed in but can’t touch

The gap between what I want
and what I achieve eternally
decreases. So I’ll finish the bourbon
and sink into the couch content
with my cat who demands nothing
of me or the world but a warm lap
and the slow steady motion
of my hand on her back

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