Drinking At The Raccoon Grille

Julia Carlson

There should be jazz piano
on the jukebox at the Raccoon Grille
but not today.
He ought to be sitting with
the regulars at the Raccoon Grille
but not today.
Light should be dim at the Raccoon Grille,
and today it’s gray, shadowy.
At least that’s right.

One sign over the bar says
“If the wife/husband calls,
I’m not here”.
The other, “ERA = Earned Run Average”.
Baseball trounces Equal Rights.
Things are still the same
& it’s true, they are.
Those signs have been up there for 20 years,
they’re not coming down anytime soon.

Don't know if that makes us happy or not,
sad or not, but that's how it is.
We don’t do feelings at the Raccoon Grille.

Stirring the red plastic stick in his manhattan,
he says maybe it will be his last one
but I know what a liar he is,
how much he’d regret not being able
to stab a maraschino cherry from time to time.
He knows as sure as death comes for everyone,
so long as the sign says “I’m not here”,
he will be here,
drinking at the Raccoon Grille..