Last Call at Purgatory Grille

At the end of the bar, a fat vampire
weeps scarlet tears, hisses
he only bit those who deserved it.

He should not be sent downstairs now
simply for sustaining himself
for a few centuries!

The champ next to the bloodsucker
shrugs beefy deltoids, only half-listening.
He nurses a Bud and plots

how he’ll jab, hook, and cross—
in perfect combination—
as he pummels his way up to Heaven.

On the other side of the boxer, Candy
stomps one platformed heel,
chuckles and snorts in derision.

Even though she cannot recall
the name her mother gave her
she remembers all too well

intentions don’t matter in the end—
and she thinks how predictable men are
even when they don’t say a word

wishing she had a wad of cash
to bet against the bruiser beside her
lasting past the first bell.

Noel Sloboda has published two books of poetry as well as seven chapbooks, most recently Creature Features (Mainstreet Rag Publishing Company, 2022). Currently, he is an Associate Professor at Penn State York, where he coordinates the English program.