The Mermaid Bar

by Renwick Berchild

A basement of echoes; tough dogs, fat cats, unbelievers,
A cool cannonade of hot talk and whiskey secrets and
What tumbles in
Levitates out, disembodied of any past
Still hanging on by a thread.

Elephants in the room make space for sly foxes and horse faces,
Neverminding cold embraces of shadows readying to part.
Fact checkers play bad games of chess while
Virginia Woolf has a few, talking to a man with a chin like a shovel.

It’s a fleapit full of beauty,
Undead veterans drowning out their duty.
A Palestinian kisses the hand of a priestess in front of a
Black hound asleep by the hearth,
Dreaming.

Everyone’s dreaming. Broken glasses and lost wedding rings
Everyone’s dreaming. A Poe rests his pen down,
Grabs a vision.

A song plays behind all the singing, confessing long held
Desires like a penitent soul before an altar, a Rockefeller
With a cigar before a signature, a bay leaf, freezing in a dew morning.

When it closes up, people cry.
But only for a little while.

Take a breath now. It’s only for a little while.

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