She, Barkeep, to Him, Barfly by Thomas DeFreitas

She, Barkeep, to Him, Barfly

Sometimes you’d really get to me, y’know?
Fifty-cent vocab and a slacker’s gut,
you’d guzzle Newcastle ’til you browned out
on the barstool where you left a pair of cheek-prints.

Still—lavish tipper! Oh, you’d never stiff me,
but really, forty percent? Shoot, you must have
wanted me more than the dark English stout
you’d use to ease your Niles Crane love-fluster.

I gave you grief. You took it straight, no chaser,
never flinching from my ashtray trash-talk,
my moods as changeable as late October.

I miss you sometimes, kid. You weren’t a jerk.
And I know I could be a piece of work.
And hey, good luck, I heard you’re getting sober.

by Thomas DeFreitas

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Editor’s Note: This sonnet’s use of first person point of view illustrates a gritty narrative from the inside, inviting the reader into empathy without sentimentality.