March 14, 2023
i’m really sorry. i never thought i’d say
this: i'm getting tired of going to bars. even
those cozy hometown haunts i used to go
to. against my better judgment, i still visit.
just not in spirits anymore.
i’m always ordering a round for someone
else. but never imbibing myself. save for a
coke with a soggy paper straw, ice twirling
at the bottom of the murky pinecone water.
yes, i’m that dewy glass, left thirsty and
desperate for bourbon.
today, i’m a kitty with a fishy dangled in
front of its whiskers but ordered not to
attack. i'm a fugitive: warrant & malinois
nipping my ankles, trying to pull me back
right this minute, i’m a hot glass of toddy
set on the table. emptied, returned to the
counter, washed, rinsed, and dripping. but
i never get to take a single crystal sip.
i'd truly prefer to be some fancy china
placed in some elegant hutch. never to be
used again. i hope i can fetch a decent price
someday. hopefully the buyer can drink me
in, sitting on their shelf, but they ought to
leave me dry dry dry. like death valley. like
the gobi desert. like the australian outback.
gimme one consolation. gimme one little
victory lap. rejoice in all of the drinks i
once held. and lead me away from those
swing set doors. i'll only get chipped and
busted and chained up inside.
© the author
by Nicholas Barnes
Nicholas Barnes earned a Bachelor of Arts in English at Southern Oregon University. He is currently working as an editor in Portland, and enjoys music, museums, movie theaters, and rain. His least favorite season is summer. His favorite soda is RC Cola.