"Among the Furies" - Rupert Fike

    - They who take vengeance on men
       whosoever hath sworn a false oath - The Illiad

If you’re early for your pizza pick-up,
and there’s only one seat at the bar
you might find yourself sitting next to

three got-up women trashing their exs
like they don’t care who hears.
Like they don’t care period.

And since you can't make yourself invisible
you stare at the TV as though you've got strong
money on the Czech at Wimbledon

while the women keep listing failings
you know you share with the whole of men.
You. The man at a bar. Now with a beer.

Fury One saying, "He's find any excuse to go out."
Fury Two: "Yeah, Trey would just sit at bars,
watching sports." The three turn to you as one,

but you just keep watching sports, drinking beer.
"And Sid," Fury Three says, "always had to flirt,
He always had to talk up the waitress."

This reminds you to talk up the waitress, check on
your pizza because you would now like to leave.
"Almost done, sweetheart,” she says. Sweetheart.

The women's eyes rolling so hard they almost click,
before Fury One is asking Fury Three that most
ancient question, the poser that's bedeviled us

since infidelity first plagued Olympus.
"Sid? Fury Three answers in a too-loud voice.
"My Sid? God. He’d fuck anything that moved.”

And this you hear with a sip of beer halfway 
through esophagus-land which results in a noise
that perhaps sounds like the start of a comment,

an observation by you re the ways of men,
the furies turning as one, eager for your thoughts,
but oh, The Gods are supplying a blessed intervention,

 the Fates are intervening on your behalf -
your pizza box is being presented, opened.
And even though there's a missing topping

you say, "Perfect," you leave a big-tip twenty,
not so much for the "Sweetheart" but just
so you can just slip off the stool and leave,

so you can escape out into that inverted bowl.
the same ancient-world, wine-dark sky
under which so little ever seems to change.

Join Athens Word of Mouth in welcoming Atlanta poet Rupert Fike to September's open mic!

Rupert Fike's second collection of poems, "Hello the House," has been named one of "Ten Books Each Georgian Should Read, 2018" by The Georgia Center for the Book. It also won the Haas Poetry Prize from Snake Nation Press. He was runner-up as Georgia Author of the Year after the publication of his first collection, "Lotus Buffet" (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2011). His stories and poems have appeared in The Southern Poetry Review, Scalawag Magazine, The Georgetown Review, A&U America's AIDS Magazine and many other journals. He has a poem inscribed in a downtown Atlanta plaza.

Sign-up for open mic reading will be tonight at the Globe, 7 pm, and readings begin upstairs at 8 pm.

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