Tony Webster CC
When I decide, the time has come to step-off the wagon,
I'll wander back to Lakes Crossing Strip Mall
where Daggie’s Tavern is sandwiched in between
Asian Nails, and Ink to Skin tattoo parlor.
Three cars and a black F150 will be outside,
an Open sign on a string will still hang and swing
as if it has never turned to Close.
The dark tint of the door glass will have a gray rash
of dust; only a dermatologist could clean.
The door will swing easy, the light inside still dims,
years of smoke lounge lazy upon the haze.
Everything will be as I left it. TV on the wall will drip
baseball, two guys with painters' bibs sipping beer at the bar.
A large woman with her hair growing grey will see me
come in and will reach for a bottle of Skol and ask,
"Where have you been?"
I will shake my head and say, "Away."
As she pours, she will smile and say
This first one's on me."
Jim Gustafson is the author of Friar Fred’s Diary (Big Table 2018), Unassisted Living (Big Table 2017), Driving Home (Aldrich Press 2013), and Take Fun Seriously ( Limitless Press 2006).
He holds an M. Div. from Garrett Theological Seminary at Northwestern University and an MFA from the University of Tampa. He teaches Creative Writing at Florida Gulf Coast University and World Religions at Florida Southwestern. His work has most recently appeared in Rattle, The Red Wheelbarrow Review, The Main Street Rag, Another Chicago, Tishman Review. Jim and his wife Connie live in Fort Myers, Florida, where he reads, writes, and pulls weeds.
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