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One Boy Drinks While the Other

by Robert Fillman


sits on his hands and waits for

the bottle, his friend taking

a long quaff, filling his mouth


with the whiskey he stole from

his dad's liquor cabinet,

venturing beyond his age,


turning his eyes to a sky

that widens with every gulp.

"Jesus," the boy says, jabbing


his friend's gut, "Save some for me."

But he's too far gone. He won't

give it up. It is as though


he understands what a kid

like him will become, what hell

awaits when he gets home, knows


that this betrayal might be

the only refuge he's got,

just feeling—enough to be


alive, a satisfying

heat in contrast to a world

that burns the whole way down but

doesn't offer any warmth.