Aliza Haskal



sitting on the steps
of your apartment i tell you
these words exactly:

when i think of you
it is like walking out of my
house and discovering

that there’s a street fair going on
just outside and there are
vendors selling mango with tajín

empanadas and jewelry and tie-dye
tamarind juice and paintings
i look to my left

and see a man selling
elote which i’ve never had
but always wanted to try

sweet tea sestina

i have this theory that
drinking a little sweet tea
(or mainlining it)
at the right time of the day
usually around four o’ clock
will literally save your life

i have a short halflife
(i admit that)
so when i hear the ticking of the clock
i grab my sweet tea
and fill my day
to the brim with it

see, before i knew about it
i didn’t live a proper life
i snoozed away entire days
(little did i know that
i could just take a sip of tea
and ease the thumping clock)

my narcolepsy always beats the clock
(then beats me over the head with it)
i scramble for the tea
i fight for my life
running to the one vending machine that
holds the savior of my day

i take a stimulant nowadays
when i get up at 8 o’ clock
(despite the fact that
i hate the taste of it)
the bitterness of a sleepy life
so i wash it down with sweet tea

i think i’m addicted to sweet tea
(i drink it every day)
it makes everything more bearable, my life
not besieged by a raging clock
that knocks me out before i know it
guzzle it down, easy as that

that’s just the way of sweet tea
it dominates my day
but the ticking clock defines my life.

Aliza Haskal (she/her) recently graduated with her B.A. in English and a University Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets. She is published by Bullshit Lit, Zoetic Press, The Spectre Review, and The Lunar Journal. In the fall, she will be attending Syracuse’s MFA Program for Poetry.

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