In the spirit of the season, I whispered to the woman
in front of me, both of us at the liquor store, imagine
being ten years old again with no need to be here.
She nodded, spoke of her father at home, now with Alzeimers,
wanting to watch Seinfeld episodes over and over.
The younger man behind us, with sleeve tattoos
depicting Botticelli’s the Birth of Venus, the shell
right above the right wrist and the goddess rising
up his inner arm, while the lover angels, draped around
each other wound up his left arm, slid into our conversation,
saying I’m sorry. My mother passed with Alzeimers
last May. He had a bottle of Jack Daniels. I cradled
two bottles of wine. The woman, Mary was her name,
had three bottles of vodka.
Looking back on it, I recall the rain beginning.
The wind abated, as the customers walked through
the automatic doors, heading to their cars. Neon
OPEN sign flashing, a Johnny Cash Silent Night
gently playing in the background, and not a soul smiling.