I wonder sometimes if she sees their pain …all of our pain. What kind of job it must be to hand out the poison that ruins every other patron. Is she a home-wrecker? A murderer? An abuser? She’s just doing her job. We are the ones so willing to walk through her doors & waste away an entire paycheck on that sweet nectar that rots our minds. The housewife with her Sunday wine. The college kids with their vodka & Redbull. The awkward first-timer perusing the wares. The homeless man counting his pennies for some gin. Everyone has their story, why they’re here. Why they can’t look her in the eye. I’d like to blame her for all the misery. ‘Why do you do this to me?’ when I really want to ask ‘Why do i do this to myself?’ That must be one of the worst jobs in the world. To see the best of people with the worst of intentions go in & out – in & out – day after day, week after week … until one day they don’t show up anymore. Jail, rehab, death? Where did they go? What path did you lead them down? – the drunks, with their pursed lips & dry hands. The ones who are too weak or too strong to make it through their days. How many families have you ruined? How many hearts have you broken? Jaws have you broken? Cars wrecked? Thank you for your services, liquor store lady. You are the kindest of doctors. The sweetest of anesthesia. The warmest of fires & the Queen of the Drunks.