BAR STORIES By Ginger Harris


Chatting away at a bar in the Badlands
you said that woman
was so beautiful, so nice,

scene set to snap your heart
into light-hearted fragments
of longing;

the map on the wall
boasting the wildness of the west,
the childishness of want

spelled out in times of pick-axed hope,
stale beer becoming

a mystifying tryst with stillness.
A year later, lost,
you stopped at a saloon in Salina

when rumors of bed bugs
sent you high-tailing it
into darkness, some truck stop,

met me in the morning
at an Irish pub in Denver—two beers and a hell
of a story.

After you died I went back to Buffalo—

discovered you can still smoke
out the stress
at that old hole-in-the-wall
next to the Occidental Hotel
where we did years ago—

where booths set with bullet holes
were grandfathered-in
from boom-and-bust days,

and oratory fixations on
preserving blazing greatness

are evergreen
as Washington’s grimace, tall tales

tumbling from walls, open mouths
letting us in

an embrace—a glass
achingly full,

a place that has always wanted to keep you
where you want to be kept.

By Ginger Harris


Ginger Harris is an emerging writer who lives in Denver. She has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she also studied creative writing. You can find more of her work on Instagram @ayla.poetry

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