You know me. The neighborhood
bar regular, striving to keep up with

Saint Augustine of Hippo – patron saint
of booze. Shots lining the bar waiting.

Maybe, I don’t walk through the door.
My energy orbiting the room

from barstool to jukebox. I’m
the bartender’s favorite past time,

serving up his savior wannabe potential.
Cops circling the barroom narcotics parade.

Dealer’s every day grace is a drunk’s
disgrace. Here they pretend to know you.

On the streets we’re all different beasts.
My smile’s no match for the newest bruise

overlapping past scores. ‘She’s awkward
with two left feet’,
is what you tell yourself.

Everyone has a history with someone outside
these doors. Make way for the band’s lone

dancer. Medusa arms slithering above her head
daring you to join before last call’s lonely

plea to be left alone. Daddy’s little rain
soaker, winter frost night skipper, doesn’t

need to circle the toilet bowl; I can hold my
liquor like a drowning child, always coming

up for air one last time. Take the girl out of
the bar. Alarm buzzes 6AM, I’ve already

forgotten your name. A dripping washcloth
stained with last night’s black eyeliner

darker than under eye circles, gargled coffee
breath, clean clothes, and I’m everybody’s

girl Friday. Mask firmly in place.
Innocence lost under neon bar signs.

Another drink, another headstone added
to the graveyard of lost but never found.

Until no one knows my name. Not even
me. Maybe, I don’t walk through the door.

You can take the bar out of the woman,
leave the girl. Daddy did.

Sage Ravenwood is a deaf Cherokee woman residing in upstate NY with her two rescue dogs Bjarki and Yazhi. She is an outspoken advocate against animal cruelty and domestic violence. Her work can be found in The Temz Review, Contrary, Pioneertown Literary, Grain, Sundress Press anthology – The Familiar Wild: On Dogs and Poetry, The Rumpus, Lit Quarterly, PØST, Massachusetts Review, Savant-Garde, ANMLY (Anomaly), River Mouth Review, Native Skin Lit, Santa Clara Review, The Normal School, UCity Review, Punk Noir, Janus Literary, Jelly Bucket, Colorado Review, Pangyrus, PRISM International, 128 Lit, A Gathering of the Tribes, Ponder Review, and more. Her book, ‘Everything That Hurt Us Becomes a Ghost’ is forthcoming from Gallaudet University Press Fall 2023.
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