July 2005 / Volume Six / Issue Four
Steve Klepetar
Saint Patrick’s Day

We drink green margaritas poured from cold
silvery shakers, sweating like the ones that held
malted milks when we were kids and lathered
thick lumps of ice cream into shapely glasses.
Our hands leave ghostly, wet prints that fade
from palm to fingertips as we let go.  We drink
and there is more, always more.  Ice clinks
in our glasses, against our teeth.  Salt
and sour and sweet.  These crowded rooms
filled with television sets, hockey and basketball
flitting across screens, and everyone wearing green. 

Our waitress is young, wears a green bowler
made of cardboard, freckles painted on her pale
cheeks.  Tonight even our blood turns green,
tomorrow our bowels.  We eat steak and shrimp
and garlic mashed potatoes.  Suddenly I notice
everyone here is white and speaks English. 
Where my mother lives in Queens, New York
you hear Russian on the street, and Spanish. 
Men walk by in yarmulkes, women in purdah,
on bicycles black men peddle by, Asians unload
trucks outside the Chinese takeaway, women push
shopping carts and strollers, children chase balls
down the street shouting in Arabic, Korean,
Bengali and Hebrew.  Teenagers duck in sullen
groups, daring traffic.  When the light changes
everybody honks, cars snarl down Metropolitan
Avenue south toward Brooklyn.  I chomp on
fragments of Texas toast, refuse desert. 
We’ll be going out again soon into the dark March
cold, remnants of ice topped with black-tipped
snow crunching beneath our battered Minnesota boots.
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