by Amber G. Christensen

I am smoking Jakarta cloves at this bar.

My glass bleeds into the coaster.

The waitress says,

“That's a memory,”

as the smoke dances around her head.

It's a lighted halo,

a reminiscent sketch

of the holy one's mother, my mother,

a bitter taste in my mouth.


In a place such as this,

The scenes are all the same.

They are mapped out in my head,

So familiar.

I believe it—for a second—

like the way the drink makes me feel,

the way the cloves turn me into something sensuous,

the way your words are deciphered in my mind

illuminating my soul, sipping blood from my pores.


I'll sleep in your bed tonight

Trying to discover if it's truth or more lies.

My crown will ache

and I'll wonder if it's you or me

who pushed the thorns in more

on account of reality.