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Excuse for a Love Poem

by John Skoyles

It must have been the last drink
that made me feel like this.
A woman looking in a store window
stood the way you do;
a man drove a truck with a child
in his lap and somehow this touched me.

I saw everything with such affection,
it had to be that last drink
that made me think of love as a relief
instead of the relief of nothing to love,
and I flirted with a waitress to celebrate
but she never came back.

The women I thought about
always had someplace to go,
and guessing where you were today
only made me drunker:
the loveliness of being held;
the quiet in which you are reading.


John Skoyles’ collection of poems will be appearing this winter from Carnegie-Mellon Press. He is currently chairman of the Writing Committee at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. (1980)

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