“Ambien” by Claire Ibarra


If you had a car, you would drive to 7-Eleven and eat burritos with a construction worker named José. Instead you take another pill and drink a bottle of wine. Slip, sliding away to Paul Simon. Shave your head, just the sideburns. Then you let your wife find the razor and the empty bottle and the pink elephants dancing in tutus around the room singing, “After Midnight” to Clapton’s electric guitar. Light white candles and pray “Hail Mary” on your knees, slip sliding away and cursing your wife for an imagined infidelity. Face paint, hair clogging the bathroom sink, paella dumped on the kitchen floor, a cut that needs stitches, long distance calls, ants marching through cracks in the walls. Your wife calls the doctor to send for help, you dream that they haul you off to the loony bin.

Here you find peace, here you find redemption, here you find God.  Here you see your father who died, your brother who died, your sister who died, and they speak to you in tongues and you understand the meaning. Here is where you are, here is where you are lost, here is where you disconnect from your physical self and become an empty self, who no one understands, as if you’re speaking in tongues, the language of death, the language of a very deep sleep.


Claire’s poetry and photography have appeared in numerous journals and magazines. You can find her poetry in Thrush Poetry Journal, Blue Fifth Review, and Poetic Pinup Revue. Her photos can be found in Blue Print Review, Microw, Pirene’s Fountain, and Thumbnail Magazine, among others. She is also a contributor to the poetry anthology Point Mass by Kind of a Hurricane Press and the forthcoming Lummox 2.

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