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Instruction Manual: If Feeling Half-Left Behind Like Young Elpenor

This selection is paired with Book 11 of The Odyssey by Homer. Get Issue 22 of NonBinary Review from Zoetic Press.


If the world is wide and spinning. You could
get a glass, highball, lowball, or rocks.
Pick it up. Look through it. See your future.
Fill it with tequila, the silver. Now take a sip,
breathe, and do not feel in every breath

there must be virtue, virtue is in no way expected
at this time. Now, go ‘head—down the rest!
If daylight, go outside, feel the sun—the rays
of our medium-sized star—feel the intensity of
that star power! Know, this has been felt by all

who’ve been here, by all who are, by all who
will—and with what you’ve seen, you know
the rest. If night, get closer to the sky, stand
on your tiptoes, bring the tip-top of your head
closer to the multitude of stars, do not climb up

on a roof! Use your open eyes for what they’re good
for. Know, that for those few who have gotten closer
to those stars, millions upon millions upon millions
plus one, (in body) have not come any closer
to those mysteries, flickering, than you are now.

And that for those who have put in a lifetime
of work, of erudition, took the tests, did the math,
and subjected their brittle bones and squishy entrails
to mach-23—through that effort—they got closer
to the stars only by an eyelash, in relative distance.

But ignore “the facts,” but ignore “the clock,”
go back inside, and fill your glass halfway,
not with wine, no beer—only the good stuff—
the happy stuff, more tequila! Take a sip.
This could be life? Hot on the tongue, the throat,
in the chest, burning as the clear goes down.


Eric Pierzchala teaches Humanities, is a former professional baseball player, and teaches chess to children. Eric holds an MFA in poetry from Murray State University. His poems have recently appeared in: Plain Spoke, The 2018 Surrealist/Outsider Anthologie, Rue Scribe, Cathexis Northwest Press, The Stirling Spoon, and The International Anthology on Paradoxism.