Part One: New Hampshire
We are having lunch with our poet-artist friend,
Looking down toward the big lake,
Luminous glow of peak reds and golds
In an October mist.
The bar is crowded,
Favorite domestic brands on draft.
Why would you go to a bar at noon on Monday?
To watch a replay of Sunday’s game,
To see if the Patriots win this time,
Or have a beer with your sandwich,
Which you could do by the window,
At the table next to ours,
And look out at the muted foliage.
Mainly, we conclude, for companionship,
The sense of being part of something,
Even—especially—in a resort town
In the off-season.
We are ready to go.
We hug our friend and say
So long until June.
There’s an empty place at the bar now.
I may come back in a while.
Part Two: Pennsylvania
I think of the bars on every corner
In the sad rust belt town
Where I grew up.
Priestly barkeeps move their towels
Back and forth with Rogerian attending.
Jesse and I walk by at dusk
Carrying our baseball gloves,
Close enough to hear those Pennsylvania voices,
The murmur of disappointment and companionship,
Esslinger, Schmidt’s of Philadelphia,
Old Reading Beer.