• Emily Rogers

My Problem With Drinking

Pettie Perkins

Somewhere, I read that

scents are attached to memories.

When I think of my childhood

I think only of alcoholic breath

with a hint of cigarettes, not

candy flavored aromas

or chocolate, not

apple cinnamon flapjacks

that could have melted in my mouth.

You were intoxicated, and every time you chose

to touch me you scorched my skin

worse than a second-degree sunburn.

I thought I was a good girl with

good grades. On good days

You made me play

with you.

But now,

I realize that was never my place.

I was not supposed

to do a wife’s duty at a child’s age.

You placed me on a pedestal

picked my flower petals one by one.

You would blindfold the clock

thinking the tick tock would cease.

Gin made you frisky.

Vodka made you sleep.

Bourbon mellowed you out.

When I saw Tequila

I knew you’d come for me

Especially, if the worm disappeared.

I heard you slur the words

in a whisper,

“Mahal na mahal kita”

I wished my Auntie Carmelita was here to save me.

I know she would have helped me bury you

and then you could fertilize the soil

that grows your tobacco.

But it was time for me to get away,

because even though this part of my childhood was taken

I still had a little left to live.

I’m all grown up.

Have I managed

to get away?

People wonder why I don’t drink.

They always ask.

I just tell them,

somewhere, I read

that scents are attached

to memories.

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