“Please Refrain from Licking the Fish Tank”

There’s an old couple at the bar
who seem insistent upon staring
at anyone who doesn’t notice
those that do
return one intense gaze with another
passive aggression is acceptable
because it’s quiet
but I wonder how easily one might
provoke further response
retired guy keeps failing at amateur sleight of hand
in a country bar
aside from loneliness, I can’t imagine why
but at least the bartender is kind enough to feign interest
somewhere I swear I can hear Ricky Jay crying into a deck of cards
heavyset mother has forgotten to mind her child
who is presently licking sticky palm prints from the glass
poor fish looks terrified
and I realize
that fish is likely the most active brain in the room

© M. Black, 2017 All rights reserved.


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