“White Lightning” by Jackie Craven

White Lightning
Image by Penelope Breen

The first sip flamed into another sip like a sun storm—
like an Olympic medal—like Pompeii—
like Pompeii before lava made love groan
beneath the weight of heat—made love eternal
in its heavy gray embrace—Sweet Jesus that sip
turned the scent of gasoline into the sound of gasps—
my lips had been an iron gate—my lips a Syrian desert
shriveled into a frown—my tongue a slug
curled in the hollow of my cheek—Hell
I was nothing but a hotel sign flapping on a rusty chain
a fleabag room—curtains pursed—but that wet light
flashed like resurrection hollering hallelujahs
in Japanese—That hot juice hit high notes
from the very first sip—shrill and trembling—singing
goddamn Götterdämmerung—squeezing music
out my pores till my skin stretched to cellophane—
that tight that transparent—Vesuvius
spitting jalapeño breath—hot and bright and dark too—
dark on top flames stoking underneath swirling me
through a wormhole—time swallowing its tail
blindness turned inside out—that sip—if some Higher Power
cracked the world open like an egg and you felt your soul
swim up from your ribs—felt your soul rear on hind legs—
a clash of crystal horses rearing and charging and taking off
on fourteen-foot wings—Teratornis wings—
God help me one sip and I was Nithhogr I was Smaug
melting mountains into cream—Oh yeah I lit the sky
like Nine-Eleven like Armageddon like a fucking
Jabberwock—no bones no skull only eyes—nothing but eyes
and a wide wet smile



Jackie Craven won the Omnidawn Fabulist Fiction Award for Our Lives Became Unmanageable, a chapbook of fanciful tales that explore themes of compulsion and recovery. Her poems appear in many journals, most recently in Nimrod, River Styx, Salamander, and Water~Stone Review. Visit her at www.JackieCraven.com.

Read an interview with Jackie here.


2 thoughts on ““White Lightning” by Jackie Craven

  1. Pingback: Interview with Jackie Craven | Rkvry Quarterly Literary Journal

  2. Pingback: The first sip flamed into another sip… | Jackie Craven

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