If Alice was a Bartender Drunk in North Carolina as Lonely as the Rest of Us
The Cape Fear River was deep and I drank it dry,
down to the scales left behind by various fish.
My skin stretched so thin,
my body had become translucent.
All the water and glittering eyes
sloshed and swirled inside me.
I could feel the fan of their tails
swimming in my belly. When I sighed,
they looked up at me. I loved
swallowing them whole,
loved the feeling against my gums.
But I became heavy,
so heavy. Why couldn’t I stop?
Even as my torso scraped the riverbed,
I drank and drank and drank.
My lips split at their hinges.
My drunk mind rolled into the darkness: an echo, a shore.
In the morning, I lit a cigarette.
I was pregnant with everything.
Everything I had taken. Everything I had done.
I was a puckered mouth.
Those poor fish, I thought
like the Walrus once had.
But there was no Carpenter
to slap my wrist.
Poor me, I thought, you poor fish.
Whatever am I going to do with this hunger?
It’ll consume me, I know this.
Kneeling on the river bed,
I picked up those dazzling scales
and fastened them above my brow
like a crown.
About the Author: Brittany Hailer loves tarot cards, Coca-Cola and fairy tales . She has taught creative writing workshops at the Allegheny County Jail and in a women’s rehabilitation center. Brittany is the managing editor for IDKMagazine. Her work has appeared in In the Doorframe Waiting, Atlantis Magazine, and The Fairy Tale Review, and HEArt Online. She earned her MFA from Chatham University. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.