As one day they’ll be boarded up
like the rest of us
you put your hand on the For Rent sign
around Fourth and High
and remember having a Bourbon Barrel Ale
and a breakfast quesadilla here.
It was called Surly Girl then and it
was never crowded at the bar and high tops
for lunch especially as you dined alone
in your new city
drenched in sweat. And next door at Michael’s
with a towering neon sign and an unbelievable patio
You tell everyone: good burgers, great bartenders, a real
neighborhood place. No one agrees.
And there’s this new place by the meadery.
It’s hard to get a table. It’s hard
to go back when you and an old girlfriend
said “This should be our spot” and you even
shelled out on the tasting menu for New Year’s.
Still, you tell everyone. If you call
Creole Kitchen they won’t tell you about all of the sides;
they’ll reduce you to rice. It’s worth it,
but you can always go to Yat’s
since it reminds you of your other favorite cajun
in Lexington it feels warm inside. And there’s
the ramen place, the best of the three in town.
And the reuben at the Jewish deli. And the
smash burgers hidden upstairs at the Three Sheets Tavern.
They do free pizza on Mondays at the bar next door,
chili dogs on Tuesdays. And Wendy
can take you around to try her top five bloody marys,
though it’s too far of a walk to The Crest.
It doesn’t matter which. At all of them you’re still
licking sauce off of your cracked knuckles
like a cat. You’re doing an extra load of laundry
to get out the bacon vinaigrette.
Sometimes it ends with sex, or moving in together.
Sometimes the whole world goes out of business
and you stand outside the cold window
looking at all the upturned chairs,
the soup of the day.
~ ~ ~
Clayton Spencer is a worker, a poet, and a Kentucky Appalachian. He holds a Bachelors of Arts in English from the University of Kentucky and currently lives in Columbus, OH.