May 2013 - Comments Off

Wednesday Night at the Publick House

Laura Creste '13

On Wednesday, a fifty-year-old man drinking beer
in the Publick House says Take your glasses off.
I say No, with little affect.

C’mon take em off. Four times he says it
until I say I like my glasses. I didn’t mean
to offend you. I say nothing.

An Irishman asks me to buy him a drink,
with his own money, because it’s cheaper
for women on Wednesdays. I can’t think

of a good reason to say no, so he slurs into my ear
about James Joyce, getting spittle on my cheek
while we wait for the attention of the bartender.

I lean away from his side-armed embrace.
You’re a very tactile person, he says. I know
something about me is inhospitable.

At the table the same middle-aged man scolds us
for checking our cellphones – my friends laugh
in apology: it’s a generational thing. I feel nothing

like remorse but we must think our lives are long,
if this is how we spend them. Let me ask you something –
he says, Do you think you’ll find Mr. Right in a place like this?

But I never wanted righteousness, only a drink.
I am most myself when I am disagreeable,
without any expectation but a gin and tonic.

Someone says that the Hamptons are ugly,
the ocean repulses. But when is the earth’s violence
not beautiful? The Atlantic on the east end,

dark concentrate, breaks the back of the sand bar
as the wave gives birth to itself. Arriving out of nothing,
the ocean says something about obedience.

Published by: in Poetry, Volume 69, Volume 69: Issue 2

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