El Paso:

August groped me with sticky fingers,
the oppressive heat of the Chihauhaun desert
slamming my pores closed with a gasp.
We make nopales and spend the day slicing frozen brains like deli meat.
I am researching addiction and the results are inconclusive.
This is my best attempt at using science to wrestle my mother’s dirty names into the sand.
We are trying to prove that addiction is what happens when normal joy defects.
The friends not so friendly,
the food not so filling-
loneliness’ big sister, fat with rage, careless in her hunger.
Sometimes I imagine the roles switched. The vodka yearning for my mother while she’s away at
work. The glass beading with need for her hands.
Huitlacoche from Juarez circles the cramped table,
and we talk about where we come from.
I try to speak, but cannot hear myself over the ice crashing together in some far away glass.
I think I’m screaming
“I study addiction because it’s interesting. No particular reason.”
The creosote tinges the wind, makes the wooden crosses smell deeply of gasoline.
It’s funny how you devote your life to things you’re scared of.

Effy Fritz is a poet and scientist from Brooklyn who believes the most important aspect of poetry is the act of deliberate word-choice. Her work has been featured on MTV, Button Poetry, and decomP, among other places. You can contact her at effyfritz@gmail.com