He can barely get out of the car.
He has to cup the rim of the door with both hands
and pull himself to his feet, taking sucking breaths,
mewling, all bones bundled in fleece, an old ram, unsure,
stumbling and sinking.
He hates this stage of life, its shame, its servility, so
I do not offer my arm.
We have not spoken in years and now he is not himself,
and when I open the restaurant door,
he stops at the first chair, collapses into it
as if just pulled from a plane wreck.
The man with no liver orders beer.
I say nothing.
He used to make his own in the basement.
One New Year's my mother threw bottles, some landed
on his head, because he was too drunk to go to the party.
Under layers of wool, his head seems small,
it dangles over the menu, membranes shrunken
like a raisin, juiceless and fluted. Then something
I say charms him and his body quales with delight
and then he winks, You're ok, kid.
It is the first time he ever lets on that he likes me.
Unless that's not what he meant, in which case
he has never let on.