Today's poem is by Patty Seyburn

Bartender Cain at the Alibi Lounge

You're right, I tell you, and no, it's not fair.
You look up, feeling dubiously bolstered,
surmising that I understand, or care
as proven by my advocating shoulder.

The brutish facts assault you 'round the clock:
No righteousness, no justice, little mercy.
Abel offered up the firstlings of his flock.
I proffered my tilled fruits, and God cursed me.

I don't know how I got this rotten job.
I suppose it's because I killed my brother,
I dole out feckless comfort because God
has labeled me eternally the other.

A toast to all the fools expecting more.
A drink to those surprised by sorry lots
whose friends and family they often bore,
lamenting, You're the only thing I've got.

Copyright © 2002 Patty Seyburn All rights reserved
from Mechanical Cluster
Ohio State University Press / The Journal Award in Poetry
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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