Poetry: “What to Do If You Survive” by Laura Theobald

there was a war. the names changed, the borders, the sounds of words.
so instead of toes, it was snows, or sometimes hills,

which made me think of my body as a landscape, which made me forget to eat.
we travel with shovels. after, there is always digging to be done.

he’s walking beside me. he stops me and says, you’ve gotten so thin,

and reaches into my pocket for a cigarette. what you don’t do is speak.
when i say i’m trying to remember, he will hear don’t bathe,

which isn’t actually what i mean this time.
what you can do is drink whiskey. in a war it’s a metaphor for making love.

you can drink whiskey until you can’t walk, and there is a slow, steady burn,
and october doesn’t fool you anymore with its version of winter.