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Working the Liberty Bay Cafe Closing Shift
Couples move in and out in rhythm
to water on the jetty, snapping
sunset selfies between happy hour
sliders, truffle fries, and Poulsbo Porter.
From the window you see local junkies that use
our bathrooms to pop counterfeit pills from China.
In three hours, they’ll rummage the dumpster
for what you’ve already cleared from table nine;
Grass-fed Skagit Valley filet mignon ordered
rare, served medium, and three-fifths
of the crab Alfredo special ordered
by the woman at table twelve to prove
she’d overcome her eating disorder.
When the bar closes at 2 a.m. and the
streetlights play on the water, you’ll wipe tables
and mop floors and synanthropic wildlife
will enter the scene, stage left—crow, rat, raccoon—
noses down, sniffing and scratching
the asphalt under your car tires,
digging for the human word for more.
just a little longer
avoid happy dreams
in Costco clamshells
pallets of stars
stacked by forklifts—
thanks be to factory
workers from afar.
Still, we long for dark empty rooms.
Some find them in tiny pills
YouTube on autoplay—
And when night drops its curtain
70 inches of pixels illuminate faces
behind walls and windows—
Oh, Great Box of Blue Light, say
Oregon East Magazine
Hoke Center #328
Eastern Oregon University
La Grande, OR 97850
Oregon East Subscription Form