empty bottles

by 22:49 0 comments
your favourite song plays on the radio 
as your phone rings,
your heart beats a different language today. 
ma taught you to be weary of thunderstorms when dad became one 
you put your raincoat out to dry 
as the lightening strikes in counts of three

you look for the empty bottles
they remind you of home
turkey and dinner table laughter 
never seeped in your memories  
only your brother’s tears did 

you chug down all the beer in one gulp
and look for the wine 
it’s a holiday 
you stay within your room
pretend those footsteps aren’t yours. 

you hear your neighbours laughing
outside in the streets 
as they put up all the fairy lights 
you turn off the lamp
and remind yourself 
the shadows are more beautiful

there’s last night’s leftover pizza in the fridge 
and lasagna from when you last cooked 
ma made the best pasta
you don’t feel hungry anymore 
you fill your stomach with all those empty memories

your brother always played the best movies 
you plug in your laptop
you’ve had too much sugar in the brownies jess got to work today 
she forgot you were diabetic 
you rush to the sink 

you’re coughing now
you’ve forgotten to take your medicines 
you don’t call the doctor
maa always treated you at home 
you black out 

you wake up when the night is a lot quieter 
a little darker than usual 
a chill takes over you 
you’re lying there 
covered in your own tears
and vomit 

you don’t move 
you’re scared that if you do
you’ll know that this is real 
you don’t want it to be 

you wait for the phone to ring 
or the door to bang open 
you wait for maa to come save you 
or your brother to ask you to 
save yourself   

the neighbours have done the lights
they’re putting up the tree now 
your hands tremble as you take off
your tshirt 
you forgot to wear a sweater 
yet again 

your footsteps quiver a little 
as you make your way past 
all those empty bottles
to all those empty mirrors 
you see your face there 
but it’s not you



you trace all those scars 
on your skin 
there are belt marks 
from last christmas 
and the burns haven’t 
gone away 


your tears make your burns 
ache a little
and you thought your pain 
had faded away 

you hear all the dancing 
from the next house 
and you miss everything 
you never had 

there is warmth there 
you freeze a little 

you sit under the shower 
for an hour
wish for it to wash away 
all your memories 

you scrub your skin
you scrape your scars 
the marks burn a little 
you feel empty 
like the bottles 


you walk out 
the same body
the same person 
nothing changes 
but you

the neighbours are having dinner now 
they’re talking about their day 
and politics 
and the weather 
and school 
and turkey 
and dessert 
and pie 


and you sit here thinking 
if the bottles are emptier 
or you 

your favourite song plays on the radio 
as your phone rings,
your heart beats a different language today. 

you hear the rain outside 
it’s a thunderstorm 


you pick up the phone 
it’s from the prison 
they ask you if you accept the call charges? 
you say you do 
for the first time 
in seven years  
your father wishes you a merry Christmas you choke on your own breath 
put the phone down 
you turn off the radio 
and the lights

and you walk away 
like your father did. 

_empty bottles 
9/12/17