He hunkers in plaid shirts now, hides lips that made women
swoon behind year-old stubble, spins the corner bar stool
at The Hitching Post, the rancher dive that only serves Bud.
The El Fidel and Joe’s Ringside have 86ed him already, joined
his name to the list of honorable mentions, like the brothers
who fought pit bulls behind the Immaculate Conception
Church. But this Las Vegas, New Mexico, city of Billy the Kid,
and Doc Holiday’s Saloon. Roosevelt’s Roughriders remain
dusty knickknacks in an adobe museum, open only
on Wednesdays. Here the devil says goodnight, at the base
of the Sangre de Cristos, where Jesus would have run out
of water and loaves, would have to settle for iced tea
and hot tortillas made daily at the Spic n’ Span Diner,
once a laundromat. No matter what he did, Jesus could
never be from here. Patrick, too is only humored
by the bartender because she remembers ingesting
electricity, tonguing his face on the television screen.
So when we see him, we want to throw him a doughnut,
a rope, a life raft, dress him in black Carhart, waterproof him
for the coming monsoon season. It is what happens to children
whose parents have grown old. We fear his passing. But above
all else we want to shift his beer belly into the center
and surround him with college co-eds, because we are all
better than to let Patrick Swayze drink alone in a corner.
Dominika Wrozynski teaches Creative Writing and Literature at Florida State University as a Visiting Faculty Instructor. Her latest poems have appeared in The Crab Orchard Review, Slipstream, The Portland Review, and The Spoon River Poetry Review. She also has Polish-English poem translations in the latest issue of Espresso Ink.