one of those occasional unavoidable winter days, opaque, splattering incessant loveless whispers.
out about on street, i’m bruised, weak. if only i could shelter under the stranger’s umbrella.
“no i can manage” i blurt stumbling on, his concern obvious as he supports my trembling limbs.
i cannot yet see,
i’m drunk on me, pride briming man, scoffing past bars of drunken lustful lives,
seeing my intoxication clearly less poisonous.
the umbrella’d man sees them, too, catches a friend’s eye, and unashamedly pulls me in, against my wish, in among them, hookers and drunks.
he laughs, he drinks, with them.
i just watch. unseeing.
they mingle and chat, shaking hands to go and he asks them all back to his cottage.
they are busy. no problem, maybe tomorrow!
he leaves arm draped around the most intoxicated & bashful.
at the firelit cottage, hot bread, sizzling fish and flowing wine drift out the open door, mocking the wind and cold.
down my nose i comment on the palate of the red. “bordeaux?” i ask, aloof.
shaking his dark head, “no, from a valley, deep in the mountains. friends age it and i make it new.”
walking towards the fire, i see a worn photo of a small boy.
gasping i see it’s me.
he hands me bread, fish, wine.
i pour out my life in his intoxicating presence.
he listens, listens.
i sleep and wake to the sound of birds, waves, music from a distant orchestra.
He is still there, yet i’m back in my abode, wondering, intoxicated, less poisonous, less me, yet more who i’ll now always be.