Eugene From Mt. Lebanon by Bryce Johle

He butts in line at Deluca’s
            for breakfast in the Strip District
            with his white cane,
doesn’t even realize what he has done
            when he sparks up a conversation
            with one family
and continues it with another,
            ‘til the second wife says
            she lives near him, in Dormont,
and he says he thought she said Shaler,
            and she lets him know
            that was another family,
you’ve turned around,
            and Wow, he says at himself,
            and just five minutes earlier,
the second wife and her husband
            eavesdropping two feet away,
            heard him discussing his profession
as a lawyer, and a woman who died
            running from her apartment
            melting her lungs with hot smoke,
how they are trying to pin the landlord
            with manslaughter
            for her death, and
wow—he loves My Cousin Vinny
            and there are so many people like him
            living in our neighborhoods,
making a better living than everyone else
            waiting to be seated
            before their stacks of banana pancakes,
who can estimate a close measure
            of the calories to be devoured
            using the vision of their eyes.

Bryce Johle earned a BA from Kutztown University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Parentheses Journal, Eunoia Review, October Hill Magazine, Maudlin House, and Pennsylvania Bard’s Western PA Poetry Anthology 2023, among others.


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