Sometimes, he would

stumble home

eyes bloodshot,

smelling of beer

and sweat

and stale cigarettes

slurring his words

beyond the point of c o m p r e h e n s i o n

But the one thing,

the one thing

that never changed

was that he was

an alcoholic

and my brother


Other times, he would

find his way back

hop into bed,

and

f
a
l
l


straight asleep

from the euphoria

of the hops

But the one thing

that never changed

was that

he was

an alcoholic

and my brother


Once in a while, he would

waddle home,

cheeks flushed,

smiling,

and proclaiming

that he would buy our mom and dad a house

telling my younger brother to stay in school

But, the one thing

that never changed,

that never changed,

he was an alcoholic

and my brother


Sometimes,

he would not

come home at all

but the phone would ring

interrupting the dead silence

of the quiet night

and my shaky sleep

telling us he was behind bars

and not in a bar

or in the confines of a hospital bed

But, the one thing

that never changed

was that he was

an alcoholic,

and

my brother



On occasion, he would

come home

sober,

clear-eyed

and tired

not from the alcohol

but from the hardships of the day

But the one thing

that never changed

was that

he was my brother,

an alcoholic