My grandmother, a Marilyn Monroe blonde, lay
in bed for years before her death. She drank gin
mostly, though she was not above the bottles of
vodka she kept between her bed and night table.
Liquid courage, they call it. But against what?
She had forgotten what she was steeling her heart
against as she reached down to massage a cramp.
I resented her, not for myself but for my grandfather,
a lovely gentle man whose embrace I longed for
day upon day when my mother left my sister and
me alone, when my stepfather raged against us, his
body thrust against mine like a weapon, a brutal weapon.


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