Saturday, March 6, 2010


Photo by Hovev

He shows up beside you
At the bar.
You’ve stopped in
To recuperate from work
Before the shaky subway sojourn
Home. You imagine
He has, too.

You’ve never liked him
All that much. Easier
To keep him friendly, though.
You tell him you’re doing OK
And let him ramble.

He goes on about Elaine.
Her cubicle
Is not that far from yours
Or his. He tells you
She’s a lesbian.
He heard her
Talking to her girlfriend
On the phone, then
Glimpsed them
Meeting on the street.
You barely know the girl,
But like her more
Than him – seems like
A reasonable person.
You nod
And grunt, expressing
No opinion.

He reads this
As a show of interest,
Keeps on talking,
Gathering excitement,
If you’ve pictured girls together.
It’s clear to you
That he has.
You say nothing, stare
Into the depths of your beer.

He says he bets
That a real man
Could change Elaine.
She wouldn’t want a woman
If she tried
A guy like you,
For instance.
You check his eyes
And see
He’s also pictured
That. And he wants
To plant that picture
In your head, hopes
You’ll tell him
If anything happens.

You down
Your nearly full beer
In one gulp,
Slap the tip
On the bar, check
Your watch. You lose track
Of the rest of what
He’s saying. Your partner
Is waiting at home. This guy
Has no clue who you are.

You walk briskly alone.
The smog-infested air seems
Fresh and sweet.
Even the screeching subway
Sounds like music.

-- © 2010 by Jack Veasey

All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced or duplicated in any way without the author's written permission.

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