Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2015  v14n1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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They walked into the bar and ordered.
Water with lemon. A double gin.
Just gin, he said, as she scowled.
It was in honor of nineteen years without it.
She still scowled, but let the lemon touch
Her full lips, and the water slid
Past her neck. The secret, he said,
Was to never let the fumes reach
One's nose. Once that happens, if
It ever does, the world is going
To secrete tears, which is something
An old drunk might say. From the corner
Of his good eye, he noticed
A woman sitting alone at a booth.
Out of the slightly usable bad eye,
He watched his wife again,
The one he continued to call girl,
In spite of these awful modern times.
He touched her thigh, because
That is what a man does in such films.
The gin began to whisper—a kind
Quiver of what’s to come. The crowd
Seemed happy. Should he breathe,
And let the nineteen years evaporate?
Perhaps, lean left and kiss her;
Drink in the things that mattered. He
Motioned the angry bartender
To fill another one, and place it
Alongside the first. Another water
And lemon for the lady, too.
He caught himself with that one.
Tonight, and for the rest of his
Animated, sorry life there would be
Some important thinking to do.
He breathed it in and looked away.  end  

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