Poem

Crazy Bones

He’s been going to the same tavern for 30 years,

always sits on the same stool in the same spot.

The bartender has been working since the day

Clinton and Monica got caught. He remembers

watching the news on the bar’s TV. On her first

night, the bartender walked up behind him

and pinched the loose skin on his elbow between

her forefinger and thumb. “I like the way elbow skin

feels on old people,” she told him. “It’s so soft

and sometimes I can see a face in the wrinkles.”

She’s done this many times. Now she’s moving

to Sarasota. She married a black ops guy from Bragg.

The other barflies like telling the good one about

how her husband would have to kill you if he told you

what he did in the military. This is her last night.

The place is smoky. These people pay no attention

to state law. He orders a Fat Tire and she pours it in

a pilsner glass. He flattens his forearm on the bar

and she lays hers next to his, elbow to elbow,

crazy bone to crazy bone. He rolls the loose skin

on her elbow between his thumb and forefinger.

“Do you see a face?” she asks. “Yeah,” he says,

“mine.” And they laugh together like people

who’ll never see each other again.

Stephen E. Smith

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