The Drunk

Cassandra Howard

He came into the liquor store asking
for something to drink, and I saw
his hands on the counter, palms up,
before I saw his face, top lip hidden
under his mustache, bristling in a wave
when he mumbled. He spoke like a child
out of bed asking for a glass of water,
his eyes peering from under his forehead.
He said I smelled like lilies, reminding
me of my bath that morning, the cats
perching on the side of the tub, their eyes
dilating as they watched my hair billow
under the water. His eyes shifted
from vodka to rum, rested on the schnapps
as he wrestled change out of his jean pocket,
counted coin by coin the dollar and tax
and pushed the money across the counter.