"I drank my allowance early and ran out,"
is the line I use mostly as regards the absence
of a glass or a bottle in my hand.

I tried a few others, like wives,
until I settled on one that was comfortable
(for me and you both).

Started out with the casual or dismissive,
went through a while of being just terse
"Don't do that anymore,"

but found too much being read into the circles
beneath my eyes, the hangdog face that after all
comes naturally to me.

Like poetry or discussions had in court
you need to convey your message rapidly, honestly,
and in a manner that will be believable to all parties.

But not too believable, too sincere, lest your judge and jury,
Punch and Judy, smell you trying too hard.
There must be no studied desperation in your denial.

God is good (and they say that often)
if you can pull him off or want to.
No one argues much with God.

They may consider you somewhat converted,
but it's the kind of thrall that's wholly acceptable.
The light of the burnt.

Studied casualness is a fine line to walk,
but with enough repetition, like any magician,
you develop an adeptness at distracting the mark.

Allow them just enough space to feel sorry for you
and vaguely proud of you at exactly the same moment
and then you're home free.

It's a subtle almost chemical reaction,
pride and sorrow producing a volatile gas
which dissipates into polite air without notice.

We call this element Superiority
and like the most expensive of perfumes
it is best when worn in small amounts.

And it is expensive
and the lingering price to pay
one day at a time.