Ode to a Bartender
by Alan Gann


While discussing football highlight
with a bartender who poured perfect stout
the door opened and we both
glanced above a dozen flirting heads.

Overdressed and a little too slim
almost boney with soft leathery wrinkles
and a golden-brown glow
like luggage I could not afford

she walked in tall and certain.
<i>Palm Beach or tanning salon?<i>
and I felt the closing of a trap—

Is there some secret school
where they teach women how to glide
onto an empty barstool so their skirt
rides up just enough that you can’t help

but glance and sigh? <i>Wanna buy me a drink?<i>
Danger, danger the red lights flashed
but I couldn’t find a no
and that’s when Kerry earned her tip

<i>I’m sorry sir, your credit card’s been declined.<i>
I stuffed a hundred dollar bill
into the jar beside the register, ducked out
the back door knowing I got away cheap.






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