just above the two ice cubes
and watch her spill over, melting the
frost as she trickled down
over the cold days and the colder nights
watering it down, sure, but never
never for a moment
doing anything but opening up her flavor.
he was so thirsty
and the soda water would slide between cracks
it'd fizz and mix with her amber hair
swirling it over and under and around like she
was in a wind tunnel.
the glass would gather moisture on the sides like a late fall morning
on California green grass
it'd gather into trickles and transform into drops
sliding down the outside
like the way these evenings generally went:
little bits appearing here and there, everything
looking under control
until it'd drip down to the bottom
and leave a water stain on the unsealed tabletop
for he never thought of using a coaster until
the damage was already done.
he tried to make the whole thing more beautiful.
so he'd garnish her with an orange peel
and a little umbrella to protect
her from the Oregon seltzer rain
leaving a layer of liquor lounging at the bottom
while she drowned in the water above.
and goddamn, did it burn going down.
that never went away.
but nothing made him feel more alive
than feeling her in his mouth
swishing, sensing, savoring acrid acceptance
admitting to no one
that the pain was what made it so sweet.
every night he'd tell himself that he would just have a little
but then he'd wake up next to her in bed
with searing heartburn and a splitting headache.
and every night he'd tell himself that it would be different
but he knew he should've listened to his friends
"put it down," they'd say, "it's not worth it.
she'll just make you feel bad in the morning
and no night is worth that,
no matter how cold."
but they didn't know what the two of them had.