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The Post and Courier Prize, Winter 2005
George Pope
Meeting Miss Mississippi (Columbus, Mississippi, Circa 1961)
Me, I prefer a ten inch piece
of bicycle chain,” postured John Albert
to the dishwater blonde
who was getting younger and prettier
with each passing beer
spiked from a mason jar of moonshine
buried deep in her purse.
“In a fair fight, I wrap it around my fist
but if knives come out,
I can snap a wrist before
you can spit,” he prattled on.
  
“I use this,” the blonde replied,
reaching past the moonshine
to produce a small black pistol.
“Now look, I know what you boys
really want, but for a real party,
we need real whiskey.”

(Could she really be Miss Mississippi?)

John Alber and I looked at each other
then pooled our last five dollars and thirteen cents,
enough for a pint of Early Times,
and he went to find the backseat bootlegger
only to return with a goofy grin.
“I got this instead,” he proudly exclaimed,
waving a bottle of Thunderbird wine.

“You boys have got to learn,”
were Miss Mississippi’s final words
as she moved to a table of leather-jacketed bikers.

©2005 George Pope