The Bartender's Lament
by Diane Brendan
A This Time Round: To Die For poem


I used to love her,
back before they twisted her,
made her into something else.

I used to wish
I could tell her that, find a
way to say the words,

Instead of standing in the corner,
Watching from afar,
Wishing for something out of reach.

I hoped to one day find
The strength to relax and not
Make of myself an ass.

But I never could,
Not when it would
Still have mattered.

She used to be friendly,
Willing to try to help
When I desperately needed it.

But they got to her, just
Like they get to
Everyone Else.

In some ways I'm glad
I never tried, considering
What she has become.


Sometimes I find myself
Wishing still for a kind smile,
Even if it wasn't genuine;

A moment to pretend,
A moment to feign,
Some semblance of hope;

An instant to visualize
What it might be like
To not be alone anymore.