Under dim lights, in darkened corners,
Slumped atop skeletons of stained oak,
faces find harbor in smoky gauze.
The man with a black ponytail
moves by rote: Nodding. Turning. Reaching.
A sweating bottle waits where a perfect circle spreads,
wet with commiseration.
Curses and dedications etched in wood
recall decades of how it began:
with a glance.
There is the smell
of too many combined smells.
Twenty-one smokes and ten ounces from the well,
the girl with a scar for each of her eighteen years
fades into brick and mortar
behind the fourth booth to the left,
the one signed by
Hank Williams III:
Hellbilly, it says,
The hours grow old and wasted.