one quaran-tini too many

by Kate Pashby

I have lost count of the number
of friends who’ve relapsed
just as I’ve lost count of the number
of non-sober friends’ drinking posts
I tell myself to stay off social media
the rest of the night / I last two hours
another addict has relapsed
and died, a friend posts
tomorrow, the Brady Bunch of drunks
and junkies will mourn another lost soul
I’ve devastated this bag of
chocolate-covered espresso beans
once I had a few athlete’s energy gummies
I woke up the next morning thinking
obsessively about them / it took me two
more months of quarantine to throw them away

Welcome essay:
This poem is largely based in fact. The poem’s name is inspired by the name of one of the first “pop-up” online recovery meetings created during shelter-in-place. COVID-19 has created barriers to various forms of recovery, because on top of other mental health stressors, the few remaining in-person recovery meetings are highly limited; most recovery meetings are now online. If you are concerned about your drinking, substance use, or other behaviours in quarantine, please seek the online and/or in-person resources that can help you.

Poet biography:
Kate Pashby is a queer Mexican-American writer hailing from San Jose, California and residing in Washington, DC. Her work is forthcoming in Rogue Agent and has been previously published in Rabid Oak. She particularly misses social dancing and walking outside.

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