Family Ties

Papa was tall, silent, and strong
he wept only when he drank
as the liquor flowed, so too the tears.

Pointing to the bottle of scotch,
he’d whisper about love and spirits
and pain.

With his tall body swaying back and forth,
back and forth,
my father was like a tree
being pushed by the wind.

Even as a child, I wanted to catch him
or maybe just



I grew up and I drank
shouting, weeping
angry at my father
angry at myself
for feeling so alone.

Years have passed and
I am sober.
Yet even today
there are bold and intense
flashes of anger
like a volcano, erupting.

I look and I recognize
the expression of fear
on my daughter’s face

Just like the one I wore
when I was growing up

And so I bend down and