Drinking Chair

There’s a chair in my mother’s room
bought at a thrift store for $15,
loosely wearing an orange and black
cover, like a still-drunk woman wears
last night’s stained nightgown.
 
Her drinking chair. I recognize well
how the hollow hours passed there.
I’ve spent those same hours, days, weeks,
months, years, decade—fingers pressed
to the pipe, straw poised, pills crushed, liquor
chugged: I never got invited back to parties.
 
I sat in her chair, not high, but false mighty.
Delirium tremens kept her in intensive care.
Again. I dumped her uncracked bottle of rum,
my favorite brand, down her kitchen sink.
I stayed to speak with a woman after a local AA
meeting, crying on her shirt—I still haven’t taken a drink,

a technicality. Here I sit in my own little room, seat 
of my mind where nothing can ever be fine, loops, 
spirals, misfires. Nothing good pours from me but need.
Dry drunk with claw marks in the arms of my chair.


____

Christina Xiong is the author of Ghost Monogamies  (Ghost City Press 2019) and The Gathering Song (Finishing Line Press 2018). Christina’s work has appeared in Versification, Poke, Cotton Xenomorph, Brave Voices Magazine, and others. She’s a freelance editor and collage artist, often working with found objects to create tactile art. 

morning swim

to breathe in my mother’s music I learned to push
even columns into the flute 

                          Sarabandes    Minuets    Gigues

danced & paused	         danced
to breathe inseparable

                         I dreamed her dream until I didn’t
                         and left


on virtual boardwalks toward a ridged horizon I click 
like & sigh: trees

                         cloister my view here, my heart
                         for distance


from my mother’s ear for sound and cadence
I learned to love	      our language

                         left it to breathe
                         in another


I push through
chlorinated water, pass

                         a hair and leaves
                         push, reach	  push—

the sun above
an incandescent net below

                         astir




____

Burgi Zenhaeusern (she/her) is the author of the chapbook Behind Normalcy (CityLit Press, 2020), winner of the Harriss Poetry Prize. She co-edited the translations of the poetry anthology Knocking on the Door of the White House (Zozobra Publishing, 2017, J. Ballesteros et al. editor). Her poems appear in Seneca ReviewDiagramOversound, and elsewhere. Find her at https://burgizenhaeusern.com/ and on twitter @burgi323. 

permeable June

             out-swung
window wings spread
             cool respite
                        release cloistered
breathing	porous house
             to porous
                         evenings
             golden
noises
             home to home
mingle
             in the warm dark
so close



____

Burgi Zenhaeusern (she/her) is the author of the chapbook Behind Normalcy (CityLit Press, 2020), winner of the Harriss Poetry Prize. She co-edited the translations of the poetry anthology Knocking on the Door of the White House (Zozobra Publishing, 2017, J. Ballesteros et al. editor). Her poems appear in Seneca ReviewDiagramOversound, and elsewhere. Find her at https://burgizenhaeusern.com/ and on twitter @burgi323.