Pat Jones

Bar Napkin Sonnet #18

by Moira Egan

An eager poet in the throes of youth
has heard we’re here, me and my new T.A.
(We’d gone out for a quiet pint or two
at the SteelGaarden in Bethlehem, PA.)
This low-rent Johnny Depp with wet brown eyes
o’erbrimming with his newest love, The Muse,
has “never met a real poet. Could I
just read you one of mine, or maybe two?”
“Just one,” I answer (yeah, a bit too quick).
It’s clear he’s read Tupac, Jim Morrison,
and even if his poem mostly sucks,
that moment when his mermaid longs for land
and slits her fishy skin despite the pain,
I want to cry. I’ve known that walk of shame.

Sonnets by Moira Egan have appeared in Best American Poetry 2008 and in a number of journals, and are forthcoming in Measure and 66: A Journal of Sonnet Studies.  She lives in Rome with her husband, Damiano Abeni, and can be found online at