I want to tell you a story
that never happened. I want to tell it so often
truth won’t matter.
This is misleading, however.
Truth never matters.
Adult children of alcoholics (ACA) lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth. This is the
third of thirteen characteristics according to the ACA website.
Have you ever played the ice breaker two truths and one lie? I’ve played this so many times at
different functions, professional or otherwise. It’s liberating. To deliberately lie and be rewarded
Here, I’ll begin: My father is an alcoholic. And because he never hit me I believed well into my
twenties he was a good alcoholic.
Look me in the eyes; tell me where the lie resides.
Melts wax, burns wick and wood, wounds flesh
in a little circle. Here, where I pressed
a lit match into the skin
of my left forearm.
“Don’t cry. Your wounds are
beautiful if you’ll love mine.”[i]
My father, like fire, consumes the thing
that sustains him
until both diminish to nothing. Now,
tell me about your father.
[i] from William Matthews’ poem “Oh Yes” (The question: would you like one more drink?)
Published in A Single Throat Opens (Black Lawrence Press, 2017)
Meghan McClure lives in Washington. Her work can be found in American Literary Review, Mid-American Review, LA Review, Water~Stone Review, Superstition Review, Bluestem, Pithead Chapel, Proximity Magazine, Boaat Press, Black Warrior Review, among others. Her collaborative book with Michael Schmeltzer, A Single Throat Opens, will be published by Black Lawrence Press in June 2017. Visit her on Twitter at @meghantmcclure or at her website meghantmcclure.com.
BIO: Michael Schmeltzer was born in Japan and eventually moved to the US. He is the author of “Elegy/Elk River,” winner of the Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award, and “Blood Song” (Two Sylvias Press, 2016) his debut which was longlisted for the Julie Suk Award for Best Book of Poetry Published by an Independent or University Press. He earned an MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop. His debut nonfiction book, “A Single Throat Opens,” written in collaboration with Meghan McClure, is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press. His work can be found in Black Warrior Review, PANK, Mid-American Review, Rattle, and other journals. Visit him on Twitter at @mschmeltzer01 or at his websitemichaelschmeltzer.com.