May 13, 2015

Michael Gillan Maxwell

After Drinking At McSorley’s

I lean against the bar
drinking small tankards
of dark and light ale,
staring in amazement
at the dust encrusted filament
strung from one end
of the room
to the other,
crammed with desiccated wishbones.
Each represents a World War I doughboy
who shipped out to fight in the Great War
promised to retrieve his wishbone
when he came back safe and sound,
but never returned.

Leave the bar, head to the subway.
Descending the stairs to the landing,
hear accordion music and a woman
singing songs in French.
I see her from the landing above,
wearing a white gown,
tiara and angel wings.
She plays a white, pearlite accordion
and sings the songs of Edith Piaf,
the French chanteuse,
while all around her,
glassy-eyed stoners sit
moonfaced, wide eyed and smitten,
throwing dollars at her feet.


Michael Gillan Maxwell lives in the Finger Lakes Region of New York and writes short fiction, poetry, songs, essays, recipes and irate letters to his legislators. His work has been featured in a number of journals and anthologies. He is a fiction editor for JMWW and a review editor for MadHat Lit. He might occasionally be found ranting and raving at

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