Daddy Drinks

I gave my dad a whiskey flask for Christmas.

He laughed. He has never had a taste for whiskey.

But because I gave it to him, he treasured it.

He brought it to work and showed it off,

trying to hide the proud pucker of his smile.

It had my school crest on it.

When I was small, I would be jealous of my cousin,

(he was grown-up,) smoking spicy cigars and drinking

on the porch with my dad, under thick, warm light

Decanting through the tree trunk silhouettes.

They would talk, and nod, genially, toward the window

at the sight of me.

He favors wine, but when I come home he pours me

a tumbler of Scotch – smooth, slow, golden-

as he asks me what I am thinking. I sip, and answer

in excruciating detail. And I pretend it is the

harsh heat of the whiskey making me choke,

            as I drink with my dad.




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