Wednesday, September 22, 2021

No Alcohol Sales After Midnight By Troy Schoultz


It’s where I stopped on my way home

From my second shift security gig. Cars parked

Far from the scrutiny of overhead gas pump lights,

Asphalt like alligator hide, spray painted pay phone relic

Broke and leaning like the shadows entering and leaving.

A girl in a black hoodie,

young enough to have run away from home

sits on a swivel chair in front of the video slot machine

emptying her pockets of an endless supply of quarters.

I walk past the candy-colored glass pipes

to the coolers and grab that night’s sixer of tall cans.

The man behind the counter avoids eye contact

And has one expression, it’s the kind 

That says “yeah, I’ve seen it all and more.”

The license plate on his red Jeep Grand Cherokee reads “CACTUS.”

I knew then something had to change,

When I could no long find the romance

In the emptiness of Sunday nights

And Mondays with nowhere I needed to be.

Troy Schoultz is a lifelong Wisconsin resident. His poems, stories, and reviews have appeared in Seattle Review, Rattle, Slipstream, Chiron Review, Word Riot, Fish Drum, The Great American Poetry Show, Steel Toe Review, Midwestern Gothic and many others since 1997. His interests and influences include rock and roll, vinyl LPs, found objects, the paranormal, abandoned places, folklore, old cemeteries and the number five. He is the author of two full length collections and two chapbooks

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