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Low Hanging Fruit

by Elizabeth Shaw

It’s a frigid evening in Ontario
a little nipply at O’Brians
a little nip a this
a little nip a that
a place to plant your butt and ferget about it.

The room is narrow and cozy
a long wooden bar that stretches its length
an old tin ceiling painted gold
the people convertible as the tables.

This one used to be a sewing machine
that one’s leaf origami
concealed in the middle
between two people
you’d never know that it’s there but it is.

Big Drew is standing by the back door to the deck
with the boys in a makeshift club car
Heh, heh, HEH!
he ribs from afar
YOUR bags as big as MINE are?

WAY behind
still bundled up from a walk to the veg mart
with my hat and coat and gloves on
I can’t think of any swift to say
fist two plastic bags
between my legs
loaded down with sprouts and onions.

YOU tell ME, I tart
toss the dressing in his face
when a jar of salt stick
chocolate covered pretzels
flies from the mouth of the carryall towards them.

Heh, heh, HEH!
Patti sees it coming
giggling her huge bosoms
toss ME one a them
half in the bag
having been to Wayne’s
funeral.

Patti is sitting sideways at the bar
her foot propped up on a bar stool
wearing a blue sky shower cap
that looks like a sock condom.

LOOK! she squeals and points
to the foot with the sawed off bunion
they gave it to me at the hospital
so people won’t BUMP it.

Kristen the barkeep laughs and peels me a brew
while I admire her thick Roots knock off
thinking how appropriate a work sock sweater
for a hostess of the Muppets!

I feel a coming out in the gathering
of grey flannels and white ironed shirts
like a crowd laid out before a parade
ya got to needle your way through before parting.

Two newbies I don’t recognize
near Wayne’s world three quarters the way back
are jimmy’d up to the bar on a memorial crawl
going so far as to drink where Wayne would
wave his smile like a legion flag
in anticipation of Santa
giving a burly hug and peck on the cheek
the quilted whiff of a lumber jacket
rumbles through me like a bowling ball
the slow roll down maple lane
makes me feel like I'm a part of something
bigger than the beer and the pub and the float we’re on.

The two fellas they get to talkin
about the time with Wayne in the Navy
how the ship exploded and he somehow survived
moved with his wife
the next small town over
before she died.

I didn’t know that half of him
but there was no holding onto what came next
that rolled along the rails
underneath the floorboards
there were medals somewhere
and shoes polished.

It’s true I don’t like
funerals
can’t say goodbye
to all that jest
some people they just grow into you
like low hanging fruit with elbows
it hurts so good ya GOTTA laugh
it hurts so good ya cry
with THAT card in the middle
of the crowded room
there’s always room
for one more.

02/17/2015

Posted on 02/17/2015
Copyright © 2023 Elizabeth Shaw

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 02/18/15 at 02:29 AM

Another winning piece of writing, Elizabeth. I greatly enjoyed reading this.

Posted by Philip F De Pinto on 02/19/16 at 10:37 AM

been to Montreal, ( with what's her name ) been to Quebec, ( again, with what's her name ) but never Ontario. Now I can imagine it, your writing makes it possible for me to imagine such a place and that bar and everything relative to, and I thank you always for that, Dear Jane.

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