The Bartender Prays
God is the bouncer at the strip joint
where I tend bar. Everyone calls him Tiny.
He’s not big on formality.
The ladies here giggle with me but
they stand just behind God’s left shoulder.
About half the dancers in this dive are fine.
The ones that aren’t break
God’s heart every time. I tell him
he’s a fool trying to comfort stray cats.
God snorts at my cat joke.
The manager, the girls and myself
are a party of misogynists and man haters
sitting down for our last supper.
God rests calmly in the center.
The traveling men here walk in past God
their sweat pants ready to become stained
cotton altars. The ladies call them perverts
in the back room.
After hours me and the dancers sneak shots
of rail liquor the burning
sparks laughter in our hollow throats.
God never joins us.
He just walks out with the
broken girl of that evening,
her mascara threatening to crack
her painted doll face.
I wonder if they offer blowjobs.
I wonder if God takes them.
I think that God is a better man
driving them home when they’re too drunk.
While they quietly cry whisky in his car
his round belly pressed against the steering wheel.
The ladies ogle at God’s tattooed sleeves:
there is a galaxy on his left arm, a tiger fighting
a gorilla on his right, a wooden Christian cross
on his back right shoulder, a jungle full of flowers
from calf to ankle. He’s never explained any of them.
None of us want to be here.
We stare at the galaxy on God’s arm
wish on stars that we don’t
have to raise our heads to see.