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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

behind bars.


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.

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