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Heems reads Kaveh Akbar's poem "Portrait of the alcoholic three weeks sober".


POEM: Portrait of the alcoholic three weeks sober
BOOK: Calling a Wolf a Wolf
AUTHOR: Kaveh Akbar
PUBLISHER: Alice James Books

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Hey I'm Himanshu Suri a.k.a Heems and today I'm reading "Portrait of the alcoholic three weeks sober" by Kaveh Akbar. I think he writes with a rawness that the material requires and I guess I could relate.

The first thing I ever saw die--a lamb that took ten
long minutes.  Instead of rolling into the grass, her blood
pooled on the porch.  My uncle stepped away
from the puddle, called it a good omen for the tomatoes
then lit a tiny black cigar.  Years later I am still picking romas

out of my salads.  The barbarism of eating anything
seems almost unbearable.  With drinking however
I've always been prodigious.  A garden bucket filled with cream
would disappear and seconds later I'd emerge
patting my belly.  I swear, I could conjure rain clouds

from piles of ash, guzzle down whole human bodies,
the faces like goblets I'd drain then put back in the cupboard.
So trust me now: when I say thirst, I mean defeated,
abandoned-in-faith, lonely-as-the-slow-charge-into-a-bayonet
thirst.  Imagine being the sand forced to watch silt dance

in the Nile.  Imagine being the oil boiling away an entire person.
Today, I'm finding problems in areas where I didn't have areas before.
I'm grateful to be trusted with any of it: the blue-brown ocean
undrinkable as a glass of scorpions, the omnipresent fragrant
honey and the bees that guard it.  It just seems such a severe sort of

miraculousness.  Even the terminal dryness of bone hides inside our skin
plainly, like dust on a mirror.  This can guide us forward 
or not guide us at all.  Maybe it's that forward seems to chronological,
the way the future-perfect always sounds so cavalier 
when someone tells me some day this will all have been worth it.