by Hailie Cochran

His fingers are working
hard, clinking glass
to metal spout and dripping
with cold condensation
as the barflies swarm
to his hands—
they crave the same thing
I do: the poison he offers
tempting souls like mine
with beer foam kisses
and the promise of

but is it his fault?
He cries for something more,
I can see it—
we have the same eyes,
and I watch his blue flail
to find a reason to be here—
here at this bar
and not out using
the master’s he went to school
(and into debt) for.
The same hands
making drinks used to hold
tee ball bats
and pull dandelions
into flower crowns—
but I can’t stop watching
his wrists and wondering
if we’re the same there, too—

if shattering glass reminds him
of home and if the subtle flinches
mean he intends to stay.  

Hailie Cochran is an emerging writer from Macon, Georgia, who has recently received her Bachelor of English and Creative Writing from Mercer University. Her poetry has appeared both online and in print—most recently, in Outrageous Fortune, New Note Poetry, and Unfortunately Literary Magazine. Her poem “Hysteria” was featured as a finalist in the 2023 Steven R. Guthrie Memorial Writers’ Festival Contest through Agnes Scott College, and “Pretty Girl Walks into a Bar” placed second in the national Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Awards. In her free time, you can find her people-watching through Tattnall Square Park with her fiancé Sean or serving tables at Bearfoot Tavern—all documented on her Instagram, @vanhailie.