bartender

“bartending is a branch of show business. your bartender can flirt as heavy as he wants without danger of being taken for real, thanks to the wide spread of wood between him and the customers.”

-Thom Gunn

he tended bar on Sundays

and i didn’t think Jesus would mind

if i substituted a pint for sacramental wine.

he knew me by name

and had my drink on the counter before i’d even sat down.

30 minutes in i’d get a free shot.

30 more, a handful of quarters for the jukebox.

then one Sunday

–the Sunday i stopped drinking–

a girl came in to visit him at closing time.

he leaned forward on the bar and smiled at her.

(i looked up from my drink, just in time to see it).

since then i’ve been hanging out at the DMV

where nobody is friendly.

the woman behind the counter never smiles.

“never fall in love with a bartender,” i tell her

“only thing you’ll wake up with

is a hangover.”

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