New to this place,
I keep forgetting the rules.
I pop into the store for some milk, bread, cheese,
then grab a bottle of wine on my way out—
an afterthought really, I’m innocent as a cookie.
But the cashier seizes my bottle,
looks at me as if I tossed a puppy
into traffic, and tells me again
that she can’t sell alcohol on Sundays
“Till ONE PM.”
Nevermind that I don’t believe
in clock-watching deities,
or in deities at all,
unless you count butterflies,
and redwood trees.
This is the deep south,
where you can buy a gun
but not a beer
on Sunday morning.
In the beginning my love
for you was a balloon,
high and bright,
joy on a string.
The years brought trouble, doubt,
and the love fell to earth,
became a thing to carry,
By now it’s part of me,
and so dense with worry
that it hurts to think of you,
as if I were the one who is ill
in a hospital too far away.
This difficult, durable love,
may it finally be of use,
worth all it put us through.
May it be in your room,
steady and unyielding,
refusing to give you up.
Main Street Rag has just published Of Burgers and Barrooms, an extraordinary collection of poetry and prose featuring bars and fast food restaurants. My story “The Side Bar” is included in this publication, and I am deeply grateful. Provocative, humorous, edifying, delightful, this anthology has something for everyone. A great gift for writers and readers!
From the website: Main Street Rag Publishing Company has been publishing our print magazine, The Main Street Rag, uninterrupted since 1996. Among its features are poetry, short fiction, photography, essays, interviews, reviews, and commentary. Subscription information is available on the Submissions page and can be placed online at: Subscriptions. Current and back issue information–including who appears in each issue–can now be found at The MSR Online Bookstore on the back and current issues page. Our magazine is financed through subscriptions, direct sales and shelf sales. We receive no money in the form of grants or public funds. Reader support is important and necessary.
I love this poem by Ted Kooser. It is among the many poignant “postcards” in his collection WINTER MORNING WALKS: one hundred postcards to Jim Harrison.
Fate, here I stand, hat in hand,
in my fifty-ninth year,
a man of able body and a merry spirit.
I’ll take whatever work you have.
“So it is if the heart has devoted itself to love, there is not a single inch of emptiness. Gladness gleams all the way to the grave.”
— from “Honey Locust” by Mary Oliver
Photo credit: goingslo / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND