by Bekah Steimel


11:13 AM
Three shots of whiskey
warming me up in January
puffing on another cigarette
and wondering why I’m called “troubled”
11:19 AM
Watching her rotate while she sleeps
same cigarette
different question
Is it still called drinking alone
if your girlfriend
is ten feet away and asleep?
11:24 AM
Add two more shots of whiskey to my total
What am I escaping this morning?
I think I know, but a few more shots
will uncloak the culprit
11:32 AM
Two more bullets down the hatch
the chamber is still at capacity
a black pen in one hand
brand new cigarette in the other
no digits available to deliver whiskey
at the moment
11:37 AM
Slow burning Pall Mall
listening to “Live to Tell” by Madonna
she sings of spilling secrets
we should all just come clean


You brake at green lights
calling it caution
I have no time for the timid
as I race the red
you watch wide-eyed
calling me fearless of death
I would prefer
unafraid of life
walking every ledge
I can get my feet on
the literal
the figurative
the harmless and the deadly
I love to smile and sway
with every shift of the wind
while you shield your eyes
and try to find
the magical words
to talk me down
convince me
to feel content
walking on safer ground
persuade me to try my best
to maintain my footing
and stick around

Bekah Steimel lives in St. Louis and is working on a first
collection chronicling one lesbian's struggles with addiction,
fidelity, mental illness, and mortality. Find her work in journals
such as Gutter Eloquence, Sinister Wisdom, TRIVIA: Voices of
Feminism, Vayavya, and Verity La.