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  • Tyler Bauer

100 proof.

see, I was born of cigarettes, gasoline

and Styrofoam,

as in white trash.

I'm destined to explode

as napalm on a city sidewalk

it’s family tradition.

so I scrub my skin,

with steel wool, and bleach,

but I still don’t feel like one of them

with scar tissue I wish you could see

but I keep the lights way too dim

so shadows hide where I’m cursed like my kin

and I get to pretend


my mom drove to soccer games

and scrubbed out grass stains from practice

pouring bottles of red wine at dinner time,

scooping mashed potatoes on a dinner plate


my mom once pulled over on the interstate

and said, “Watch for cops.”

as she shot up in the driver seat,

with heroin bought from coins

that filled my sister’s piggy bank,

now empty like the fumes

in that rusted chevy gas tank

see, I saw an overdose before my last baby tooth

now nostalgia is a spirit stronger than 100 proof

that I dilute with art

and music

and anything I can find

good for my soul

but those demons come to drown me

on random nights

and I’m exhausted

but still afloat


I envy

Tennessee whiskey and Honey

as I walk under that familiar glow of streetlights alone

but still afloat


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