By Andrew Purcell

Marishka explaining the human brain with
words streaming like satin banners out of her mouth
and a bottle listing on the table,
the dun-teal liquid looking sickish.
No, she says, this stuff is good, Ukranian,
and smirks, pink “Rus” lips that lust
for anything that bends her thriving mind.
She sucks the slotted spoon with eyelids clenched.

We drink until we laugh like dunces
and half the books she owns are on the floor.
She takes a chess set, grabs a bag of pills, walks out her window;
she’s deep into the shine of Montreal at night, she says,
descants on everything from optics to Camus,
English girls, neural fatigue, the merits of the Shah.

I was born, she says, in possession of a profound innocence,
then giggles, fluent in four tongues, in forked tongue—
gives a shove, goddamns the Klonopin, leans on me and tells me to shut up.
Sometimes I am grateful for this life;
sometimes a balcony is anywhere you don’t fall off.
This is how we talk until the substances wear thin,
until the sun’s meniscus starts to give us hints.


Andrew Purcell lives and works in Syracuse, New York. He has met Patrick Lawler.

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