POETRY: New Year’s Eve In Bismarck, North Dakota by Kathleen Norris

New Year’s Eve In Bismarck, North Dakota by Kathleen Norris

Flying in
Before snow closed the airport,
Waiting
For a way out,
Drinking at the Patterson,
Peppermint schnapps
For the season,
The town,
The storm.
The bartender joins in.
He’s old, and wears a black
String tie.

A cowboy, drunk, says
“You’re lookin’ good.
Got a figure like a bombshell.
Like an angel. An angel from outer space.
Some guys’d up n’ say,
‘C’mon, you’re gonna have some.’ I believe in God.
I’d never say that to a girl.”

It’s ten below in Bismarck. They say it’s colder
In outer space.
The Ecclesiastes
In my hotel room
Is uncharacteristically hopeful.
“Better is the end of a thing,”
He says, loosening his loincloth,
“Than the beginning thereof.”

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