When it Hits

March 5, 2018

A man without a job
Parades around with a rusty old car key
And judgements far too abrasive to be helpful.
His pockets full of scratch tickets,
A beer belly that never dissipates for his
Fridge is filled but lacking food.
A spotless house with not a spec of dirt.
And a perfectly manicured lawn,
Spoiled by a broken down Pathfinder.


He’s drained his wallet and the last sip in the bottle
And you’re constantly crying
Imagining a world without him.
Never does it cross his mind that his children will worry,
Or that he may not make it home tonight.


Well, you’re constantly being held,
Wondering if he’s landed the same fate as so many before.
Waiting for the phone call to tell you it’s finally taken over.
Was it his liver or kidneys that turned yellow and shriveled?


Long ago you learned that the thirty-two pack
Comes before the child support,
And the possibility of winning thousands
Outweighs the need to save.


Eighteen and driving him to AA.
Nineteen and taking him to rehab.
Twenty and knowing he relapsed—
Not by accident,
But by choice.
And running five states away to avoid the pain.
Twenty-one and silently watching him drown the loss of his father
With yet another bottle—
There was never enough reason to take the final sip.
Twenty-two and trying to remember the last time he took care of you.
Twenty-three and praying for each year to a God you know longer believe in.


You held onto hope for the man who taught you,
How to ride a bike,
Pitch a tent,
Swing a bat,
And drive a stick.


But it has finally hit you.
You don’t have a father,
You have an alcoholic.

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© 2023 by MCLA Spires.