Texas-Louisiana Border Dive Bar


I’m talking to the mortician, and I tell him I hold
my breath every time I drive by a funeral parlor.
His is the one on the main road, and this bar
is on the main road too. Corona’s half off.
I bite into a lime, and the mortician’s head floats
like a balloon off his body, bounces when it hits
the ceiling, and then sails back down into place.
The front door opens and lets in the daylight.
Our eyes are fault lines before they ease up
when the dark rights itself upon us.
There’s a slot machine in the corner that speaks
in bible verses. A serpent loops itself around my ankle.
My beer starts to taste like the blubber of an oil spill.
The slot machine says we shall be redeemed.
I lift my shirt to show the mortician the tattoo
on my back. He tells me he prefers a blank canvas.

Brett Hanley