At Temple Bar I Refuse to Worship

her or this color standing in for her or our brittle, fragile love.
Still, I note the cobalt blue bottle with its eye dropper top
at my end of the bar. Without too much trouble I could reach

across the wide bar top, give the bottle a half turn to see / read
its handwritten label on masking tape. I resist, pointedly refrain
from reaching for it, from holding it in my hand, from reading

whatever is scrawled on its label. This end of the bar is tidy but
busy: a shot glass, a candle, flame flickering in a red votive glass,
a stack of black cocktail napkins, a squat wide-mouth clear glass

bin of wine bottle corks, trays of various salts on staggered scales,
a pepper mill, a tumbler of bamboo cocktail spears or skewers.
Close enough are rows of upside down wineglasses, bottles

of Absinthe & pyramids of sugar cubes. In a tray, white paper-
sheathed bottles of bitters: black walnut, peach, Aztec chocolate.
Finally, I have to know, can’t leave until I ask. No sacrifice here:

I carefully ask the bartender, What’s in the blue bottle with
the eyedropper?
Indulgent, he replies, Orange flower water & turns
the bottle so that I can read its label: “Orange H2O.” I think to ask,

Shouldn’t it be in an orange, or even brown, bottle?, but don’t.
The color still draws my eyes, still clouds my sight & scales my
judgement, & I guess will until I can no longer see. At Temple Bar

I refuse to contemplate the candle flame as echo of her ancient love
for Dad, or of our old sunken love & regard. I know the bottle
doesn’t contain Mom’s bitter tears, or a tincture of her silence mulled

with herbs, or an extract of her love for her daughters & friends
& realtor. I could reach up & across this wide gulf of absence & give
her memory a half-turn tweak. Finally, I refrain, pointedly resist.


Andrew Shattuck McBride
NaPoWriMo ~ 2013 | My Day 6
April 10, 2013

About Andrew Shattuck McBride

I am a writer, editor, writing coach, and consultant. I work in a variety of genres, including poetry, short stories, and creative non-fiction. I also have a couple of novels simmering on back burners. THANK YOU to Nan Macy of Village Books for taking this photo (June 2011).
This entry was posted in Andrew Shattuck McBride Writer, Can We Talk?, NaPoWriMo ~ 2013, Notes on Sally K. McBride, Samples. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to At Temple Bar I Refuse to Worship

  1. I wish WordPress would allow Quadruple Likes. I’d give this poem ten Quadruple Likes!

  2. Jennifer!

    “Quadruple Likes” makes me smile. Thank you!

    Cheers, Andy

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