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,

thinking about
        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.