The bartender here knows every word to every country song and her birthday
Is tomorrow the woman next to me has shaved her head in solidarity with her sister across the street
Recovering from another round of chemo it’s always the worst right after and the waiting
Is almost as awful I imagine all the commercials are for insurance policies and the president
Has been talking to Iran which means he’s betrayed us all apparently nuclear war is not far off
Lunch is essentially the most tragic meal of the day and I like a beer brewed locally if I can
Have one the lady to my left has gone outside to take a phone call and her soup is congealing
While an old man perhaps the owner greets you at the door practicing a shambling stride
The place is often full up with hospital employees and college kids but here a Tuesday is empty
Nothing like a doctor’s office but why should it be happiness is pretty far-fetched if you ever
Consider it my sandwich gone to ashes in my mouth wondering whether Ally Malinenko is ok right now
And Don Wentworth where has he been that I don’t see his long-haired skull floating by my window
Outside the light is toxic and ladies go arm-in-arm lovely in their loveliness so much finer
Than the abandoned stool beside me and the latest news from everywhere.
— Kristofer Collins
Kristofer Collins is books editor at Pittsburgh Magazine. He runs Low Ghost Press. He also owns Desolation Row Records and manages Caliban Bookshop, in Oakland. His most recent poetry collection is Local Conditions (CSB 2015). He lives in Stanton Heights with his wife, Anna Johnson, and their three cats. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Saturday morning on WESA 90.5 FM.