Hereoften

By W.P. Eichler

Just a few more. That should be fine, right?

Twilight’s coming on, but who cares?

I’ve still got a while before that sky 

begins to darken. 

Besides, they keep giving me drinks, 

so I might as well stay. 

If I keep going, 

I probably won’t get home until we,

no I,

can see the wood grains of the bar

through the bottom of my glass;

I’ve memorized each little scratch, 

and made a few more, 

because they deserve a chance 

to meet someone new, just like me.

That’s what I tell myself. 

A few more drinks means a few more friends.

 

Someone sits next to me, I buy them a drink. 

It’s a good system we’ve got going.

 

There’s something melodic about ice

hitting the bottom of a glass;

next drink I’ll listen to that song a little closer.

I can hear other songs in other people’s glasses – 

I don’t really know how they go,

but they sound like the ones people sing at wakes. 

For now we swallow the distortion 

between us and our songs

so we can’t hear them quite right,

and I fill my stomach with enough songs 

it could be a concert hall.

 

Someone sits next to me, I tell them a story. 

It’s a good system we’ve got going.


A drink in my hand, another in theirs. 

That means we’re friends,

at least for the moments between the clink, burn, and grin.

But I can see there’s an exit sign on their tongue,

so I ask the bartender for another song, 

and she’s got one waiting for me like always. 

There’s something snug 

about the way a glass fits in my hand. 

Her fingers just barely miss mine when I take it,

and I swear that means we’re friends

and I can keep asking her for the same song

that sounds like a hello, 

or a how are you, 

or something else sincere, 

so that maybe I can see an exit sign somewhere 

other than someone else’s tongue,

or in the words of a song I can’t hear 

because it’s getting late and 

I’m starting to carve a door into the bar

that might lead into a night with no songs.

 

Someone sits next to me, I move a seat down.

It’s a good system we’ve got going. 

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