Closing Time

I leave some paper on the bar.

Thank my Host for a pretty good time.
All work for Him, I know.
I pretend we are on good terms,

Most of my fellow revelers have left.
I don’t know where they go
when they are not here.
Doesn’t much matter, I suppose.

Tonight, the home team has staged an upset
against all the bookmakers’ odds.
A rebound from last week’s crushing defeat.
I collect my winnings, buy Jack Daniels all around.

This earns me a dance and squeeze
from that pretty young thing
who drops by every now and again.
She has the good sense to leave early though.

I’m ruddy. The game is in the books.
A bit of pinch and tickle.
I’m old enough to know
this is as good as it gets.

The Man gives me that look now.
Like it’s time to close up shop.
Outside, I find I still have scrip in my pocket.
I wish I had left it all on the bar.


Phillip Larrea is the author of We the People(Cold River Press) and Our Patch (Writing Knights Press). Since 2012, his poems have appeared in over 70 journals, anthologies and magazines in the U.S., Ireland, Canada and Asia. He is the winner of the 2013 New Frontier Prize for poetry, and has been nominated twice for the 2014 Pushcart Prize.