Definitely not finished

This is not a really a poem. But I’d forgotten the incident (from fifty years ago) and wanted to get it down since it fit the prompt so well.

I Was Leaving

him to the girl he met while I was working.
A tiresome thing to tell, but at the end
the fight was over whiskey.

We’d joined a crew counting every pin
and dog food can on the shelves of an endless store,
pooled our checks and bought a quart
in a souvenir bottle shaped like a powder horn
the length of his forearm. Thick glass
in a leather harness. The stopper had its own
leather suit we thought was cute. It weighed a ton
and we had been about to open it when the fight began.

What was said, was said; what was done, was done.
The postage stamp house by the graveyard was sad
and silent as an empty glass. Then one of us
wanted the last word. There isn’t one. But he got close
and I was backing the Camero out of the drive
when he flew out of the side door, hand around
that bottle’s swan neck.

Long brown bottle, tall blond man. Dark green door.
Square house made out of cement blocks, yellow
as a daffodil against the cedar trees around the graveyard.

He came to a stop like the bucket of a catapult, and two
days work times two launched itself toward me
and my car, a rocket toward the moon.

The ifs of that included broken windshield, expensive
body work, and if power alone were the consideration–
death. But the bottle hit the mailbox post and bounced.
Into the weeds without a scratch. Of course that
was not the last of things. But everyone should have
at least one emphatic good-bye, and a bottle
to keep it in.


3 thoughts on “Definitely not finished

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