I always fall hardest for the poets, he sighs,
and his voice tumbles out of his slack mouth
at a bad angle, bouncing dully off the bar
before it drops to the yellowed floor tiles
and rolls behind the jukebox in the corner,
trailing its unsteady lachrymal wake while
picking up lint like a runaway pickled egg:

and ovoid
and dead to the touch.

With empty glasses red and sticky before him,
he slumps, now, his spine and sagging shoulders
a cheap wire coathanger on vacation,
gravity pressing his cheek to the pitted bartop
so his words needn’t fall quite so far.
They stagger into the sweatstained pool of light,
squinting hard against the noisome glare:

She didn't
break my heart;
she deconstructed it.

Take note of how he’s eaten the lemon,
but not the cherries—five of them lined up,
a firing squad that targets the void in his chest.
And now he’s out cold, a sucker for a
pretty phrase, dreaming of how she’d find
rhymes for
pomegranate and met her for:
the love whose negation could get him this drunk

on nothing
but grenadine
and flat ginger ale.

(first appeared in vol. 2 no. 1 of San Pedro River Review)