Old Dogs

IN SICKNESS WE TRUST


another day
in another town
on the open road

I'm expected
in several locations
not one of which
was a seedy strip club
on the boulevard
of a lost city
in the plains

I'm sitting
in an idling car
out in the parking lot
a fat envelope beside me
stuffed with twenties
fifties and hundreds
I had been drinking
inside since noon

I had
a mission

run to a supermarket
exchange the large bills
for the tens ones and fives
needed for the coming
night's business
and return
with the result

a stranger
here for only
the third drunken day
and I had been handed money
in an incomprehensible
act of implied trust

I could easily
drive to my motel
pick up my belongings
and hit the highway

while I know
that possibility exists
as I put the Buick
into gear
I also know
with certainty
that I will
be back

it was probably
not a question of trust
on the bartender's part
a brief character assessment
had apparently assured her
that I was no great risk
just another needy soul
craving acceptance

she apparently
had no doubt
that I would do
as I was told

I pull onto
the busy street
turning on my headlights
to greet the summer night
and head toward the store
in search of small bills
and possibly
a sense
of belonging
to an esoteric society
where the only requirements
for a lifetime membership
were unfaced realities
and undefined
dreams