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Linda’s Tavern, Capitol Hill

January 25, 2008

All these black-and-white pictures of patrons
on the wall of Linda’s, a bar I’ve never been to
in a city I arrived in yesterday—

an arm-wrestling match between a guy and a girl;
lit cigarettes at the bar, clearly dating the photo;
a woman with fine red lips
and thin arched eyebrows, smiling
with her mouth open;
four band guys sitting at a table
with a sign saying
“drummer wanted”;
a bride and groom, come presumably back
on their wedding night
for a drink at the bar where they met;
a dead-drunk, slumped Santa Claus—

remind me
of the boxes of antique photos
in the Chelsea flea markets:
glossy-haired, stoic farmers;
women in black dresses right up to their chins;
grubby-faced kids now our grandfathers;
a forgotten-named dog, dead now eighty years—

for Linda’s will one day close
the photos taken down and stored away
until our tattoos our mustaches,
our self-consciously cocked hats our jokey outfits
our complicated hair our loves our lives
will be rifled through disinterestedly
by a Saturday shopper in search
of something for her bathroom.

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