John Repp grew up near the Palace Depression in Vineland, New Jersey. His latest book is Fat Jersey Blues, published in 2014 by the University of Akron Press.
In an age when nothing can’t be found, I can’t find
the Portugese restaurant, let alone the salty contentment
of the sausage one roasted on a miniature spit
at one’s own table, the neon that warmed the snow,
the tiny white candle & the liquor that honed each word
to lucid steel as it soothed worry to caress. One of us complained
because the waiter hurried the meal when all we wanted
was talk pulling our heads to the middle of the table.
My diligent scholarship has failed to identify
this remarkable friend, though the blackberry juice
in her voice slides down my throat at the thought
of her gleaming brown hair. Always poised to jack up anyone
who said No, she wore down everyone’s goodwill
long after she failed to stop our being cast out that night.