Today's poem is by January Gill O'Neil


A coworker says,
We're thinking about doing a happy hour.
Wanna join us?

And you recall the night you found your father
slumped over in the kitchen chair
after one shot and one beer too many,
the cigarette between his fingers
burning itself into one long ash.
But you go anyway because
it's Friday and your job sucks,
and drinking invites camaraderie
Besides, deep down you know you love this—
the two-for-one specials for drinks called
woo woos, kamikazes, blow jobs;
the bland bar food and the jukebox
blaring "Proud Mary" over the crowd.
And while you have a break between rounds
you think you see your father sitting there asleep in the dark
with the bare bulb of the porch light
casting shadows on the pots and pans.
At this point, taking off your bra and dancing on
a table seems reasonable. Asking the bartender
to come home with you is not so far-fetched.
And while you couldn't possibly finish
the last cold fried cheese stick on the plate
you think of leaving but where would you go?
You are no longer attached to this world.
Putting the key into the ignition becomes a real task.
So you sit there, angry, watching his head bobbing
to stay upright, like a prisoner who has just been interrogated
and told you everything he knows.

Copyright © 2010 January Gill O'Neil All rights reserved
from Underlife
CavanKerry Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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