Girl by featured artist Lora Mathis
Sunday Afternoon at the Brown Jug
We’re sitting at the bar and Janey’s crying in her drink,
slobbering really, telling me a story I can’t
understand, something about a man who
loved her and is no longer here.
On the TV above the bar there’s a docudrama
about the Irish Mafia in New York
while outside a woman with a ragged dog
wanders the sidewalk calling a name
with the voice of someone lost in a forest
on a night without stars.
“Pop! Right in the head!”
A patron yells at the TV screen
as a hapless informant meets his end.
Outside there’s still three hours of daylight
and no one knows what to do with them.
I imagine the world, too,
is in chains, beholden
to ancient rules it never
agreed to or understood.
It grinds us down with ragged teeth
but I think mostly without malice,
like it once had other dreams.
And at some point we are forced
to stand shivering
and naked before the things
we’ve thrown away,
all the beauty abandoned
that could be replaced.
And how do we plead?
I scour the night
for cut rate demons
with which to bargain,
but I’ve only trinkets,
leftovers and common
forgeries to my name,
nothing I could exchange
for another night
beneath her eyes.
The Small Things
She says the small things aren’t enough,
says all the precious moments
are just baubles collecting dust,
the poets just tattered scarecrows
in abandoned fields
splintered by the wind.
We are of no use to one another,
deformed by our own
staring across chasms,
the bridges all in flames.