The voice on the jukebox sang Maybe

Pat Boran

In a black hat and black coat,
with the kind of movements a crow makes
when it tries to tear itself away,
wing by wing, from hot tar,
he was there in the bar.

What happened next? Well, no one spoke
for a start; no one, I suppose,
had any words they felt might match
the 3-dimensional shock of him,
this tongue of black fire--man,

the only animal with foreknowledge
of his own imminent death.
Nice one, God, but the joke's over,
thought the barmaid in mid forward
bend that might have flashed a breast

to someone close... But Christ, not this,
a man stood there, held there, run through
with the current of his heart, un-hid
in this moment she would deny
that at once denies her and demands she live.


The 2River View, 2_3 (Spring 1998)