This is not my story.
It belongs to the man in front of me in line at the spirit shop, stealing liquor.
Old hands with a handle of rum shimmied into a cloth tote touting
Small Business Saturday.
Sir — firstly, it’s Sunday, and you’re not helping business.
But as they yelled you out the door, casket of amber glass torn from your grasp,
I understood how you came to be —
in Center City
I’ve been scared myself,
but the stress of time and anxiety of facing God every single day
has hit you so much harder than I. And eye to eye,
I see how the diamond-shaped bottle top looked attractive on the shelf.
In removing it to drink you could have used it to cork your achy joints,
plug your malignant growth, stopper your untreated pain.
You could have massaged the liquid down your throat
to fill the empty feeling.
You deserve better than your circumstances, Sir.
And while I stood silent as you left,
now I’ll pray for you.