How Memory Works

I was eating fish and chips

in a not-very-Irish pub

after casting my ballot

against the apocalypse.


The first sip of beer sent

me time-traveling back to

a college-town dive bar

at the dawn of the age

of the Material Girl,

and a passing server

rang a bell that conjured

the specter of a friend

with whom I had an

accidental falling-out

over the embarrassment

of our mutual addictions:

men and drink and that

certain Southern sense

of slow decay toward

inevitable doom that

haunts the twisted halls

of minds that can never

make the thinking stop.


I don’t know which way

she went—the server,

my friend, or Memory

herself—or what drew

us together and pulled

us apart, or what

anything means.


So I just finished

my fish and chips,

and someone brought

me the check.


Copyright 2016

T. Allen Culpepper