Not everyone who lifts a glass
can do so with hands made
for prayer to the new gods.
The stolen reserves
of forgotten men
and their women of renown
steep in basements and gutters,
and tenements with shuttered windows.
Still, the backward glances
help remind the waffling ones.
It was near ten o’clock before the fellas
found their way to the table
of wagging tongues and nodding heads,
of tacit agreement on disagreeables;
of the ancestors.
That’s when the best stories were.
That’s when I saw the words
most intended for song and not
for crouching in little doorways.
What was it you said before
we sat down to drink the air?
not enough garbage cans in laybys
or those fucking American hamburger joints
stealing from the coffers of your grandfather’s
croft house memories.
One more then, to close the wounds.