Ask anyone at a local watering hole, and they will tell you
they could easily spot a sociopath, as if the art of spotting is about having
a trusty pair of binoculars. Most of the places I’ve lived or been
are friendly to hunters, and no hunter wants to believe he lacks any skill
required to take down a grouse or buck. At a brewery in Florence,
Colorado, I sip German beer with other women and men—some
in lederhosen—and say nothing about my ex-husband.
It’s my first time sipping beer, a hearty blonde at my side and in
my frosted mug. I talk travel with my new companions and compliment
the bright yellow aspens and the spirit of the place as my blonde
downs four beers to my half. I drink slowly, unsure of its taste in my mouth,
its un-hopped malty wheat smoothness is a question mark for me
as I ask him if he wants to finish the last quarter of my glass.
He does in one gulp. When they ask me what I do, I say I write poetry,
shrugging because it’s not an occupation, without explaining
that it’s my constant occupation; I don’t say trauma or therapy, my mug-less
hands now wishing they had something to hold unto. There’s a need
to be moored after years of assaulted equilibrium. My companions embrace
intoxication as if their lives are a habit of grounding. I don’t explain
that in this state they could never scope a buck because I think this might
offend—especially the men. Even at close intuitive range,
it took me years to discover the man I married was an alcoholic sociopath.
And, anyway, I could never shoot shaking like this.