A man walks in to the bar and sidles up to me, stool side snug,
gives a side glance quick-like, casual, and motions for the boy;
at least he looks like a boy, tatted up the arm muscle contours,
blues and greens twitching and bulging in the heaves of lugging.
But his face smiles baby-faced 21, hype curbed in sedative cool.
Fleshy-courteous grin, his lips precede his face to our bar seats.
“Scotch, straight up,” he orders as if awaiting a standing ovation.
I make for my screen, avoiding an audience for what’s on Twitter,
scrolling in feigned interest, the intensity frosting an act of denial.
A momentary pondering how my deft fingers in memory motion
flick images by the dozens past, rehearsed in the skin of bones,
I lose sight of him who I spy in the heat of electromagnetic sense.
But he makes himself known with shoe scuffle and breathy groan,
the kind that signals satisfaction of the quaff, smack of the throat,
wedging himself in the blankness of space I apportioned off to me.
“What are you drinking?” the gargling chuff of each word spit out
in rhythmic steam of Scotch, cloying ambition, and blind incursion.
Lifting my head with a start, I flash from half-mast to widened lids.
“Liquid, something liquid,” I reply, speaking to the drop on his lips.
His chin is at 5 o’clock, at shadows, retiring, and sun-downed dark.
Slicked, stay-put hair, one rogue strand licking forehead to cheek,
peppered head to toe with an in-between-ness of age and youth,
he stares, hiding discomfort behind the glaze of liquid eye screen.
“My optometrist knew my diet by my crystal clear corneas,” I offer.
Then he smiles, his eyes disappearing inside of his face in pause.
Deliberately he turns away, glass in one hand, the other propped,
a podium for his head, as his eyes bore holes in the wet, oak bar.
I study his exposed cheek a minute, while he recomposes himself.
Will he strike again from his fox hole retreat, re-armed and ready?
Then likewise turn my head downward, alit to a screen of options.
photo credit: beeroftomorrow.com