The Bar, At the End of The Street

When he drank, 
he drank deep, at the bar at the end of the street.

The bar was his church. 

His visits,
as regular as a Priest attending

At Mothers urging,
I enter Father’s sacred place
to seek him out—
and collect
what remains
of his check. 

Inside the bar, 
the hymns from the jukebox
are hypnotic,
and from ashtray alters,
the sacrificial smoke of tobacco
ascends to heaven.

From the center of the sanctuary,
comes the clatter
of pool cues
and the clack of ivory thunder
as pool balls collide,
a reminder
that it isn’t really a church
at all,
just a noisy bar. 

The bartender,
a high priest who presides over his flock. 

He provides 
the amber blood
of a different kind of savior, 
and collects the offering,
   the unaffordable tithe,
that once belonged
to children 
and the landlord. 

I interrupt Fathers worship,
rob him of his devotion,
plead for his indulgence 
and convey Mother’s supplication. 

With the reluctance of
an impenitent heart
he hands me 
what remains of his
and sends me on my way. 

he ambles home. 

The next day,
he prays to another God—
for the bruises
laid upon his wife,
and for the guilt
of consequence— 
and he craves a penance
to wash away
his    sin. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *