Pine Street

Behind the bar the ex-all-pro defensive
back draws mug after mug of Rolling Rock.
It’s late and still a crowd, three deep at the counter.
He is not badly out of shape, only a few afternoon
regulars recall his interceptions, the two-point safety
that almost led to super bowl. He is quick and agile and good-natured.

Near the darts a group of younger men and women
who could care less about his earlier career
or his failed restaurant venture, order difficult drinks,
brands not always stocked. The females are regulars—
one is a free-lance designer, one supports herself
by modeling at the Academy, the third gets by mysteriously.

A man draping his worked-out arms across their shoulders
drinks seriously. That is, until the model
begins to lick the designer’s ear. There she goes again,
cracks the third. The man smiles, lowering his jaw,
nodding his head like a carousel pony.
He is no longer happy being married.

So when the designer pinches the model’s
right breast, he leans–reaching far across
the counter (so far, in fact, that the bartender
reverses direction, buttonhooking, thinking
the man is signaling for his drink
to be refilled)–in order to pinch her left. Leonard Kress lived in and around Philadelphia for more than 35 years–Port Richmond, Fishtown, Harrowgate, Frankford, etc. Now he lives in the Great Black Swamp of Northwest Ohio. His latest collection of poetry is ORPHICS, from Kent St. U. Press.

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