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My Papas Waltz

 The whiskey on your breath 
Could make a small boy dizzy; 
But I hung on like death: 
Such waltzing was not easy.
We romped until the pans Slid from the kitchen shelf; My mother's countenance Could not unfrown itself.
The hand that held my wrist Was battered on one knuckle; At every step you missed My right ear scraped a buckle.
You beat time on my head With a palm caked hard by dirt, Then waltzed me off to bed Still clinging to your shirt.

by Theodore Roethke
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