It seems so long ago this morning, since I purchased a book by her favorite poet, the late Charles Bukowski. Over the distance of at least three states, I've carried it's title with me in my head: What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through The Fire. Even after all these years, I am amazed at how four months with someone can feel like an eternity. Her name was Julia, and we met at a bar quite like the one I have entered tonight. Most of the surrounding counties are dry, but life on the road has cultivated my ability to find places where patrons imbibe deep into the night. Tomorrow is the third day of my current journey, and I have no idea where it will end. I don't even know the name of this town, but I feel as if I've been here many times before.
summer night —
the jukebox plays
what she always played
by Collin Barber
first published in Frogpond XXIX:3, Autumn 2006