Nine Days of Vinegar

Is the sting of me
The buzz of me
The me of me gone?
Have I worn off?

I’m not sure why, but I keep thinking of vinegar when I think of you.
Maybe because I started a batch of drinking vinegar a week ago.
The jar on my counter
vinegar and raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.

At first, the concoction the color of a dehydrated person’s piss.
Seven days later, a deep ruby red
the berries degrading, becoming something different than how they began.
Two elements, graced by time and science, combining
to make something unexpected, good and palatable.

Or is vinegar on my mind because I busied myself with a how-to-make kombucha workshop this past week?
I wanted to tell you about it.
I would have told you about it
and how my friend and I misbehaved the entire class, how we laughed at the questions the men asked, the two of them so earnest, their wives so pleased.

I would have told you how I went back to the hardware store and had them recut the glass for the front door.
How I got two panes just in case I broke the first when I tried to place it back in the frame.
I would have said to, ‘standby for pictures,’ of the completed repair, of my sloppy solo work.

I would have told you I read at an open mic, my first.
I recited the poems I wrote about you, about us.
When I read the last line of the last one I sent you, some people in the audience inhaled. Some said, ‘damnnn.’
I wanted to invite you and told my friend as much.
She said, ‘Not yet, not this time. It’s too soon.’

Too soon for what? For me to miss you less? For my love to fade?

What day is that, when it’s not ‘too soon?’ One week and two days since we backed off and away, that day feels like an eighth day the Almighty forgot to create.

It’s been nine days of vinegar. Nights you kept me awake.



Mr. Bubble paper box, soggy on the bottom
Die-cut spout like the box of baking soda in the kitchen.
Sparkly afros floating atop the bath water.
Extra bubbles, a treat that require work.

Tan, hairy forearm, the stretchy wristband of his Timex.
One shirt-sleeve rolled up,
On one knee in front of the tub.

Thinning salt-and-pepper hair oily with Vitalis
Rows raked that morning with the teeth of a black plastic comb
still visible.

Roughing up the water that gushed from the spigot
It was Niagra Falls then.

Agitating only the surface, no need to go deeper.
The sparkling mirrors inside the other sparking mirrors born from the flakes
The frothy cells winked, this is where the fairies lived.
God’s beard adrift in the bathtub.


Too many bubble baths in succession make you itch
In places you shouldn’t scratch in public.

Experiments to determine if a big toe could become stuck in the faucet proved inconclusive.



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