low rock

We called it getting high but it was gloriously low: long breath from a jazz player’s horn.

Stand up just so you can feel it sink deeper. Foreign food smells turn into oil in the sweat on your skin.

You’re gonna taste heart and skin, chew on stomach and intestine. You’re gonna wash strong spices down your throat, into your guts, with the coldest beer you’ve ever tasted.

Fall into the pores of her face. Get coughed back up into the moment by your clove blackened lungs.

Glass breaks and we all rush to the window. He’s on the ground and it’s shining like a cracked mirror in the sun while the world seeps out of him.

He’s slumped over on the filthy red coach laughing and muttering to himself. Spooning the last of the stew into his stained mouth he lets out a sound like a tenor saxophone.

Stretch him out and soak him and everything else in vodka. Somebody’s niece fetches floss and a sewing needle from the brightly lit bathroom down the hall.

Your hands shake until she puts the cool wet towel on the back your neck. Hold him down you say, threading the needle.

Pull out a long sliver of glass the same color red as your hands. He’s screaming but it gets lost in the laughter and low rock.

Pinch his fat white flesh together and push the needle through. She says something in Portuguese you only half understand but understand enough to laugh as she helps you tie off the dental floss.

He smiles and puts all the money he has into your hand. The rest of the night is loud and full of reds and browns until all at once: nothing exists.

Brian Shaughnessy