We pull several of the small, steel-topped tables
together in a row, order our beers; and, while we
sit, making small talk, and waiting for the rest
of the guys to arrive, I wonder if we will sing.

Some of the guys are new, so they won’t;
but we do have all four parts already, so
we could burst into song at any moment:
My Wild Irish Rose—something simple.

My beer, a tall glass of dark draft, is inviting:
before I sip, I feel like a kid about to open
a candy bar at the summer camp canteen;
its foam head reminds me of malted milk.

The new guys are quietly smiling: they are
waiting for the regulars to lead the conversation;
this shyness comes of entering what they see,
with some degree of reverence, as a tradition.

I remember being new at one of these After Glows:
I felt like a guy on a first date or a freshman
or a kid showing off his first bike, afraid of
a skinned knee or some kind of false move.

But the beer gives us what it could not give
the kid: soon, we are all talking about our
observations, experiences, like normal people.
These new guys are all right. But we didn’t sing.

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About riverwriter

Poet, playwright, duplicate bridge player, website designer, cottager, husband, father, grandfather, former athlete, carpenter, computer helper for my friends, theatre designer, backstage polymath, retired teacher of highschool English, drama, art, a baritone singer in a barbershop quartet, who knows what else? wordcurrents is on Facebook: Doug also has a Facebook page, "Incognitio", related to his novels.
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