Richard Luftig

A READER

She'll come on at 11,
blonde hair tied back tight
still damp against the morning,
white polyester apron
not yet stained by catsup
and yesterday's chilli.
In one pocket a pad
for her Haiku of orders,
blank verse flush left
on small pages; in the other
a place for dimes and quarters
that big tippers leave face
down in pools of spilled coffee.

And tucked with her tips one short poem about home that made her cry, the one she copied last night from an orphan book bought with tip change from the guy who comes in at noon and fancies himself a poet; the book shelf made of boards and old bricks, a poem that made her feel something she seems to remember but cannot recall.

Tonight, she'll get off at 10, go home to change, read, cry then drive twenty miles in her brown beater of a Buick to listen to a jukebox give poetry readings and wait in the hope of one long, slow dance.

Copyright CrossConnect, Inc. 1996


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