A town with nothing to do at night.

Dark road, dark woods, dark stores and houses.


Inside it’s dim, empty,

an old man behind the bar—


Goldberg, I assume—and a fat old woman

who must be his wife, mopping

a far corner of the floor. She wears

a pilled gray sweater over breasts

that sag below her waist.


Looks of desperation in their eyes,

tired smiles from millennia of pain.

The place smells of Pine Sol and stale beer.

I order whisky and joke, “The sign says Topless Bar.”

“Bessie!” the old man yells. “Get to work!”


The old woman sets her mop in the corner

and shuffles to a tiny platform.

Her husband switches on a spotlight.

Huffing from exertion, Bessie starts

to pull her sweater up.


I run to the door, push it open and feel

the fresh air. “Wait!” Goldberg yells.

“She’ll do a lap dance! Look at that tookhus!”

I can’t tell which happens first, escaping

or waking up.


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