To the woman nursing

a liter bottle–half

Diet Coke, half grenadine– on the curb outside

the liquor store,


It seemed a sweet

and fitting poison;

the same seductive sugar pill

disguising acid after-bite. She

had heard a can of Cola

could strip a car engine so it

seemed more ritualistic cleaning,

less stomach pump

more even ratio of spoonful of sugar

to medicine,

less going down

more coming up her throat like a swarm of angry bee, stings

out and perhaps the bitter seed with it.

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