by Sarah Brown Weitzman
To amuse me and my little brothers
he'd whistle his pungent breath into the narrow opening
of his bottle when it was almost empty
the sound resounding like foghorns on the river
when all the boat traffic halted and he had no work.
Other times before he'd had too many swigs
he would rub his finger around the rim
to make a piercing ring until we would screech
for him to stop.
But when that hunger was upon him
worse than those hungers we understood
he found no play in the bottle.
Then he'd explain how much he wanted to stop and would.
Tomorrow. This is the last, he'd tell us
holding the bottle in the sunlight
so that it cast gold coins on the wall
until we all could see so clearly what was beautiful
and what was not.
Sarah Brown Weitzman was a two-time finalist in the Academy of American Poets' Walt Whitman Award contest and received an NEA Fellowship in 1984. Her poems have appeared in Abraxas, The Madison Review, Mid-American Review, Poet & Critic, High Rock Review, The Croton Review, and Kansas Quarterly. Ms. Weitzman currently lives in Delray Beach, Florida.