No Punch Line
A man walks into a bar but it isn’t a bar
or his office or the bank. It isn’t any place
he knows. On the wall, a framed print
of a knife and fork and an arrow pointing right.
To the right, nothing. He sees better
when he knows what he is looking at,
so he feels lost. Dusty jars on the counter
like an antique pharmacy. He needs a drink badly.
A man walks out of a bar and onto the street.
He thinks the trees had leaves when he entered.
There was a tall building across the street.
He recognizes nothing. The wind hustles
leaves through the gutter.
A man walks back into a bar, knowing
it isn’t a bar, but he is lost and must go
somewhere. The place is empty. He cannot
ask for directions. Dust on the counter
undisturbed. There is nothing to drink.
He would like very much to sit down.
Tracy Mishkin was born and raised in