Temperance
by Alan Berecka


Each year come Ash Wednesday
my Father swore off the sauce--
cold turkey for forty days
and forty nights of self-willed
sobriety. Our family's life
slid slowly off its hard edge.

Each night my parents watched
over my bedside Lenten prayers.
Finished, I'd climb into bed
and fall asleep counting
down the days until Jesus
would rise from the tomb,
and the bottle would descend
from the unlocked cupboard again.






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