Bloody Mary

A poem about alcoholism

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Photo by Steve Smith on Unsplash

This morning I sent my brother money.
He needs it to sue the Russian bride
he married for 20k
on his lunch break
who is now extorting him.

Seemed like a good idea at the time.
He fell in love with her at the altar,
he told me,
I believe him. I believe he believes it to be true.

He sent me pictures of her,
scantily clad.
My wife is so beautiful, he said.
She is so sexy.

The story was
she was a nurse’s aide.
On the side she applied
fake eyelashes to women’s faces.

That didn’t explain why she had
thousands in a separate account.
Or why she never spent a single night
in my brother’s apartment.

Look at her,
my brother said.
Look at this picture.
How old do you think she looks?

I thought she looked
like an aging prostitute.
I only said,
Looks aren’t everything,
you know.

He told his young sons
about his dilemma.
I tell my kids everything,
he said.

I know. I know you do.
Shane told me
A long time ago,
She’s a leech, dad,
a parasite.

He could see it.
I said, Shane,
she’s extorting me.
What do I do?

Tape the conversations, dad,
said 12-year-old Shane.
Shane showed my brother how.
I listened to the recording he sent me
this morning.

In it, he said,
(for that is the wench’s name)
why are you doing this?
Why are you threatening me?

Is it because I got drunk
the other night and sent you those mean texts?
Drunk the other night.
That caught my attention.

On the phone I said,
are you drinking?
My brother forgot
or neglected to register
he’d said that
on the recording.

He was embarrassed.
My brother,
known to have been sober
20 (or is it 30?)
years. A real achievement.

We got over the moment.
He confessed he’s been drinking
but is no longer.
He says.

Alcohol holds my family
in thrall.
Our sister has four of the ten symptoms
of kidney failure.

But since her doctor said her bloodwork
is surprisingly good
(for someone with her particular habits),
she returned to her former life, vindicated.

Ah, but drinking.
It’s so good.
I’m a normie.
I can drink the occasional

And I do.

They’re all good.
Lime, a chilled glass
Bitters, ice
A muddled sugar cube
A silver shaker

The sound
The condensation
The delicate feel
of a coupe glass
etched with flowers
in my fingertips.

All excite me.
The only thing I don’t drink
is Bloody Marys.

For some reason,
those are too close.
They repel.
They bring to mind
clingy, loud
polyester prints

Raucous laughter
Terrifying drives
A mother out of control
Chomping on her celery stick.

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