Stopped paying my bills. Stopped filling my cavities, writing my poems
and plays, etc. No more prizes. No more mortifying myself with
drinking, running, porn. The sexual experiences I’d never experience
now. Reading made me sick; I watched the screen. Unable to encounter
my own daughter deeply. Instead I set my mind against the whetstone
and limped around the ward, wheeling my blinking beeping luggage of
dangling fluids. Living in the minutes between thumb-pumps of
Dilaudid. Injections of Ativan. Visitations from the 3 a.m. vampire
-phlebotomists. Blowing into the plastic flute to levitate the magic ball
that forestalls pneumonia. My wife came and went. Through windows
the desert khaki all but blinding. The arterial freeways ferrying masses
into the mountains. When was my first real step after? When will be
my first word?
ABOUT THE POET
Dan O’Brien’s three poetry collections, published in the US (Hanging Loose Press & Measure Press) and in the UK (CB Editions), are War Reporter (winner of the UK’s Fenton Aldeburgh Prize; shortlisted for Forward Prize for a First Collection), Scarsdale, and New Life. His fourth poetry collection, Our Cancers, is forthcoming from Acre Books (University of Cincinnati Press) in 2021.
ABOUT SUGAR HOUSE REVIEW
We’ve loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), so now we want an opportunity to better hear our contributors. We will feature an audio recording of a poem from one of our issues, read by the poet and updated every couple of weeks. This an open invitation to all contributors from any of our issues, we were delighted to print your work, now we’re eager to hear it.