In Degas’ The Absinthe Drinker, the woman in the bar
looks so alone and depressed as she stares at her drink.
Earlier, she was imagining she would meet someone
as she was getting dressed; now, she stares at her drink.
There are drunks all around. Everyone drinks absinthe.
Lower-class women love it best. They stare at the drink
(it’s a poison, literally; they could care less), as they pour
it over sugar to cut its bitterness. They stare and drink.
Degas said he viewed women as if through a bathroom keyhole:
she gazes into her crystal ball’s green mist—stares, drinks.
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Published by Texas Review Press