William Brewer
Ode to Suboxone

Of rescuing, impermanent but not imperfect.

The birch of me restored each day from the paste and paper of myself.

Faded, less. Better-blooded. Suspect of easy heavens. A skeleton

respectable enough for you to be my sentinel.

New schedule: nauseated, wake just as my dependency,

expert as a cougar skulking through the backwoods,

silent like a barge through fog, chases off the last of dark

so dawn can creep inside my double-wide of debt.

In TV’s pallid glow I punctuate the minutes with much coffee,

many smokes, reorganize my subjects: the names

and nights of those I’ve seen and how I almost too have died.

First the rapid deaths. Then those after. How Brittany was clean,

KC’s brother, too. Trees still scratching golden leaves outside.

I hear it all. The cutlery ringing my name from the drawer.

At 9 AM I’ll say to you: Good gentle strip dissolving on my tongue,

you summon up my shrieking private want, and like turning inside out

a precious jewel, destroy it, for the day; never let me go.

Of course your leaving makes me me again; you go.

Three hours I’ll pace my hide-away, alone. Then walk

and wait in line for you and when I’m told, stick out my tongue,

and feel my appetite for worship turn to snow.

William Brewer
William Brewer was born and raised in West Virginia. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Kenyon Review Online, The Nation, A Public Space, and other journals. He is the recipient of a Creative Writing Teaching Fellowship from Columbia University, where he earned his MFA, a Tennessee Williams Scholarship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the 2015-16 Joseph F. McCrindle Online Editorial Fellowship from Poets & Writers, and a James Merrill Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center. He is currently Associate Editor of Parnassus: Poetry and Review.