Princeton, 1972

I went to the Tavern on the Lake early on a wintery Monday night.

The room was surprisingly full of light

with a faint smell of alcohol-libations in the air,

only about 15 or 20 people were there.

A waiter walked by

carrying plates of burgers and piled high with thick-cut French fries.

We planned to hold our writer’s group here

I sat worrying, watching and waiting for my friends to appear.

Stirred up a childhood memory that left an everlasting deep scar —

having to walk my mother home from a nearby bar,

never ready to leave until she drank all her free rounds. Not a waster.

Dewar’s White Label scotch with a coke-chaser.

My heart sunk when I heard my mother say to some guy

‘I don’t want to go home until I’m drunk.’

To this day I regret not asking her why.

Edith McGowan is a member of Delaware Valley Poets and Twin Rivers Writers’ Group. She lives in Princeton Junction.

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