At the bottom of the bottle,
He took off the mask and began to cry.
He couldn’t drink enough these days to end the suffering.
His heart felt a strange heat, dragging up out of him a hidden longing
He let his eyes rest on the treeline and set his mind free
He could smell porridge cooking in the cottage,
see the firefly the children caught in a jar
He was a young man then laughing and hoping and dreaming with his pretty wife
Where did the years go.
He threw the bottle to the ground.
The wife was gone, the fever took her. It took him too.
The children… family took them.
They would have children now.
lethargy drained out of him and oozed into the ground
Something akin to hope took its place.
He staggered toward the shelter.
He had steered clear of there for months
Since that preacher had spoken over him that he would live and not die.
He had cursed the words.
Death was all he had wanted. A final relief. And even that would be denied him?
The preacher had only smiled,
some kind of knowing was in his eyes. A peaceful knowing.
It took the power out of his alcohol and the rest out of his soul.
Maybe just maybe that preacher would be there
and maybe he knew something else
How a man that couldn’t die might find a way to live.