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Spring/Summer 1997, Volume 14.2



Pam Herbert Barger

Pam Herbert Barger (B.A. U of Nebraska) teaches piano lessons, plays in a part-time dance band, and develops land. Her most recent work has appeared in
Poetry Motel, Nebraska Territory and American Suzuki Journal.


I Was a Waitress Once

I was a waitress once,
after the band broke up
and before the baby came;
we called it Barry's home
for unemployed musicians,
the place lasting about as long
as I did, what little money
Barry had going
right up his nose.

I, who knew lyrics
by the hundreds
could never keep straight
who asked for well gin
and who desired Tanqueray.
Falstaff. Budweiser. Heineken.
Who gave me the five and
who gave me the twenty.

All this while the
I, IV, V, I of the blues
colored the smoke
and hollering was the
only possible communication,
and I would awaken
hours later in the dark,
the wheel of the blues
still turning,
me unable to get off,
improvising in my mind,
at the same time,
over and over,
counting change.


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