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tavern, popponesset ma 2018

i spent that summer waitressing at the pub down in poppy. it was always tired fathers drinking bud light in baseball hats, showing me a sleeve of tattoos they got in the army or explaining rules to a sport i never bothered to learn. i was the only run girl who could move fast between multiple sections, two balance beam arms carting plates of steak tips and chorizo, wiping up the rings of condensation, shucking aluminum cans still leaking cheap beer into the bin. i loved the townies, in a distant kind of way, loved seeing them come in still in their oil-charged coveralls from work, noticing they got their beard trimmed or their glasses fixed or that there was a new grand baby or niece or nephew. i cooed at photos and topped off their drinks, thought man, how lonely must someone be in their real life to spend every night at a bar like this? but after work i shirked out the back door shadowy in my escape and rode my bike home. it was always empty aside from the cicadas singing out under the deck, noise drowned away by an air conditioner still leaking rain water from summers before. i pulled the metal cap of a beer off with my teeth and stood in the light of the refrigerator, feet aching with their own heartbeat, and told no one of my adventures.

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