Cloudy as Absinthe

by Linda Neal


They spent the morning.

They spent the afternoon.

They spent the evening.

Then it was time

to spend the night, but

the where and how grew

cloudy as the glass

of absinthe

that sat between them.


With each sip

more slur,

batons conducting bagatelles.

With each sip

a livery of tongues,

as if words mattered.


Their life was living itself,

becoming more unfamiliar,

growing more foreign

as the hours pedaled by.


What she said.

What he thought.

It was time to sleep.


In the night mist

the sound rose

from the roof above them,

a strange beating,

a trio of hammers

throbbed like wings,

and a light bore down

through the darkness.


Linda Neal’s award-winning work has been published in California Quarterly, Embers, Lummox, ONTHEBUS, Pacific Coast Journal, Peregrine, and more. Her poetry memoir, Dodge & Burn, was published by Bambaz Press in 2014. She has attended the Palm Beach Poetry Festival and Squaw Valley Writer’s Conferences among others. Neal has studied Method Writing with Jack Grapes, Healing Writing with Deena Metzger, and has taken workshops with several instructors in the UCLA Writers’ Program. Her love of words and the subtle complexities of language led her to a BA in linguistics. She lives with her dog, Mantra, in a ’40’s cottage in Redondo Beach, California. 

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