How to Avoid Depression When Leaving Paddy’s Irish Pub

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June 20, 2016 by The Citron Review

by Nate Pillman


When you see coal smoke pump out factory pipes
and the wind pull it horizontal, a T-square

in the frozen sky, take that as sign, a guide, something
to keep you straight as you walk to your car, past unafraid

bodies, late-night sandwich dungeons, voices
singing like no one’s around, 100-proof breaths

draping sorority girls like scarves. Remember:
The next day this will all be gone. The ghost of it?

A sour smell on your yellow pillow. Remember:
Someday you might leave this corn-fed college town,

go somewhere shiny and full of noise, a defibrillator
that walks you through all the steps, where people rub

against each other in indifference and a 10-second
honk is assurance that everything is okay. Or maybe

you’ll go somewhere warm and gentle, gauze
for your gashes and burns, where people

wear their shirts unbuttoned and Hawaiian,
use homemade rain gauges, chew on toothpicks

while they talk, where the coldest thing
is the backs of their thighs on a tailgate

at some over-water firework affair. Forget:
Your head hurts, those headlights hurt. Forget:

Your car and coal smoke are crawling, crawling their way
across this greatly plain town, to your trailer,

where you decorate with space heaters
and wood glue and ultrasonic mouse repellers,

where it is so cold in the middle of things.


Nate Pillman received his MFA in Creative Writing from Iowa State University. His work has appeared in PANK, North American Review, New Ohio Review, Bayou Magazine, Mid-American Review, and others. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.

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