XII. The Hanged One

in purgatory
by Briar Ripley Page | February 15, 2020

drunk again, sprawling like a dog,
legs out, belly unprotected, flayed skin
of my shirt peeling off slick sunburn,
a cigarette burning down to a fat red star
in my left hand, a bottle with two swallows
left of the beer that tastes like sweat
and swamp flowers in my right.

singing a song to the night sky
about the storm that crushed my house
about getting kicked out of the motel
    and the convenience store
    and the party at that one guy’s apartment
    and the abandoned church with its windows all smashed
    to stained glass shrapnel
singing the song of I guess I live
in this parking lot now, with the lizards
and the winos. I guess my home
is the sticky black asphalt and infinite air.
all’s well that never ends.

Briar Ripley Page (they/them) is a human being, probably. After many years of toil and misfortune and public drunkenness, they decided to go to college and become a writer. (Those things don’t really have so much to do with each other, but Briar is proud of both.)