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Daddy Drinks

I gave my dad a whiskey flask for Christmas.
He laughed. He’s 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 (a 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.

 

by Therese Eby


Original bio from the Spring 2015 edition:
Therese Eby is not a selkie. She might, however, be a Rhine Maiden.

This poem first ran in the Spring 2015 edition of Grub Street Grackle. It appears here online for the first time.

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