Six months after divorce, I patronized
the neighborhood café we used those years.
The owner welcomed me with glad surprise
and asked if John still drank. It now appears
each time he fetched us treats, he’d down white wine –
a glass or three fast-drunk. The cake and flan
were covers for more booze – by 8 or 9
his eyes would tear; companionship was gone.

And after death, when I informed two guys
who used to work with him, each blurted first
“Was alcohol involved?” I recognize
at last how much he doomed himself with thirst,
and marvel that I never noticed then
the flaw so well-identified by men.

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