Oftentimes the bourbon distilleries in this land I’ve pitched
my tent in under-distribute for what I have in mind. This will
be one such occasion. There’s a comfort in mathematics—

its lack of confliction, its knack for getting the ball rolling
when all other things remain unequal—though I’m sure
you’d disagree. I assure you there is no comfort in the walks

I take downtown on lunch breaks, listening to Lucero grind
together my insides block by block like the parts of a machine
which are only just now beginning to recognize they are parts

of a machine, and that the machine is human. I understand now
that when I revealed to you how I feel—that, for all my intelligence,
loyalty is the sole act of the will upon which the will can make

a foundation; that I’d rather argue with you than get along
with anyone else—you felt something like I felt years
ago in Mexico after walking through a landfill home

to many orphaned children. A disposition of not at all.
I retreated to Pátzcuaro that night, Land of the Dead,
so disgusted with myself I couldn’t laugh at the liquor

bottle’s label: Juanito Caminando. Nor am I laughing now,
walking towards nowhere in particular as if that’s someplace
other than a fantastical space in my mind filled with abusement

rides in need of improved safety regulations. As the wind
blows through me, I contemplate your brief body,
its one-night towns and far-fetched cities—whereas

my disposition was once a function of the household
paradigm time’s running out, there’s been a shift in functionality
towards time can’t run fast enough. Thinking of you without you

humbles my spirit more than any of the mortifications
I’ve taught myself to strap on habitually like the cardigan
I don for Sunday dinner. Cold showers or these walks

with rocks in my shoes. I estimate the broken hearts
of this world exceed those fulfilled by roughly 57%.
(To your objection, Quality Assurance Auditor,

I remembered to factor out the dupes from my sample
size on account of thrice did she level my own.)
You were right about so many things: 1) God did not

bring me in on this project to love you, 2) there is no
comfort in numbers, and 3) you were a risk I was unable
to mitigate. When I said I fell, I meant that I fell through

the concrete, and my remarks in regards to my surroundings
have begun to take on the physical properties of an indent-
ation a cartoon character in similar straits might leave behind.

Caught in the infinite regression of how this poem might end,
my mind concedes to silence. Therefore will I go down
to Texas. I hear there’s whiskey, and work for a man like me.


Author Image

John Fenlon Hogan works in finance and commercial real estate. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Boston Review, Colorado Review, Verse, Washington Square, and other places. He lives in Washington, DC, but spends much of his time in Louisiana and Texas.

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