after Pete Townshend’s “Rough Boys”

by Pamela Murray Winters

From Fall 2016

 In the years before the plague, you, like many, saved on buttons,
 shoved your chest against the wood and felt the power

 uncoil through you. So lit on it you’d smash and shatter
 just to see the shards shine as they fell.

 You said you hoped to die but didn’t. You saw the others
 flying like TVs from penthouse rooms, falling like skeet.

 Folded sticks, slick cues, the clatter across the green felt
 like horses. A point of impact that vanishes in the explosion.

 Kind eyes and careless errors, searching the gutters
 for stubs of what you were, for validation.

 Was it God’s thumbs that pulled down the corners
 of your eyes, his needle that shot the sob into the wail?

 Love was that last buddy at the bar.
 The empty glass is testament to how he filled you.