Barrooms are mythic, they stood
prominent in my uncle’s life,
a second home to go off to—
no explanation necessary—
how I envied his freedom to walk out.
I imagined he went to memorialize
his dead mother and father, his grandmother,
those he cared for till they died. He liked a good
Manhattan, gave me a sip with advice,
never drink more than two.
For a while I found myself out with uncle
in barrooms, he escorted me for company,
but unlike him they never stuck,
for I could not grieve like he did.
Emboldened, I learned to walk
away. When I moved three thousand
miles from home he could not understand
the lesson he taught.