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Published in Trajectory journal, Fall 2011

I am at the liquor store.
Its façade has been remodeled –
the shopping center is more upscale now –
but inside it’s the same:
cans of soup,
cheap sunglasses,
Southern Comfort in both 70 and 100 proof,
skin mags.You thought I didn’t know
you kept those tattered
girlie magazines beneath your sofa,
but what did I care?
I always knew you were mine
the way the wild sparrow is mine
when it visits my feeder each day.On my own now, I wind my way
through the narrow aisles
to the coolers in the back,
tug open the tall glass door,
watch it fog over as I stand,
undecided, then select a six-pack
of whatever is dark and on sale.

I remember how we bought beer here
one surreal autumn weekday afternoon –
I paid for it, of course,
two cold brown 22 ounce bottles.

We guzzled them, still in brown paper bags,
as we sat at the top of the slide
at North Park, leaves glinting gold
in the thin autumn sunlight.
There were no children there,
only us two delinquents,
a honey-colored afternoon buzz
washing over us,
enveloping us
like a favorite blanket.

© 2011 by Jennifer Phelps

Jennifer Phelps


POETRY      •      ESSAYS      •      ARTICLES      •      FICTION