Online Issue 25 Uncategorized

I Walked Into a Rickety Old Bar on the West Virginia Line by Travis Truax


One my grandpa used to swim through

on so many boozy evenings

when the rockabilly band played.

When Patsy Cline crooned

for locals. When as a teenager

Patsy stepped down from the stage

to find my grandpa’s helping hand

and in the back, alone,

my grandma’s jealous gaze

could split the whole place in two.

I walked those freshly slickened

dance floors full of ghosts. Full of sweat

and tears and full of love. Mostly

a past full of the kind of music

that moves through the world briefly.

Mostly the kind of love bars offer to

perfect strangers, shuffling their

sadness round and round for hours

while out in the world the stars

are tarping their dark hands across

the Shenandoah River. I don’t know

if my grandpa lost more of his life

in this rusty old pale of a place,

or if he somehow managed to

gather pocketsful of small and holy

moments, nights of joyous giving in.

Life goes this way. Goes that way.

Patsy Cline will die in a plane crash

coming back from Kansas City

just at the turning point of thirty,

while my grandpa will lay cement

for years, drink and drink and drink,

pretending his life against what Patsy

learned in one messy instant outside

Nashville. When it’s your time to go,

she said, well, it’s just your time.