February 22, 2009

Joanna M. Weston

Holding Mike over the toilet
while he vomits mixed drinks,
I am not going to be ashamed
of myself for being
part of the mixing and drinking,
not going to be disgusted
at the smell of sick
or the feel of his trembling body.
I look at the white gate-legged bath
against the white wall
and want the evening to bury itself.

Four of us sitting around
experimenting with tastes, mixtures,
laughing, getting a bit cross-eyed,
but I am feeling grown-up at last:
this is what grown-ups do...

until the world is turning sideways and
Mike needs a bathroom and
I must show him where it is
but he needs me to stay
and I do, suddenly sober:
earth no longer tilts, wobbles,
as he bends over the toilet.

I face the stupidity
of what we have done
and I could have stopped it
because I am twenty
and he's eighteen; but
it’s no good because it has happened:
I disgorge self-disgust
over Mike's shaking back.

—First published in Psychopoetica anthology, 1995


Joanna M. Weston has had poetry, reviews, and short stories published in anthologies and journals for twenty years. She also has published a middle-reader, Those Blue Shoes, and a book of poetry, A Summer Father.

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