Saturday, July 3, 2010

American Diner

by Len Kuntz

Beneath the skin
she is so many stars blinking and pulsing.
Shadows from her waitress cap
cast bold stripes across her cheek and chin,
glowing blue in the mirror.

Mornings she still smells of pan smoke and salty bacon.
Even after a bath or
bad dream
her fingers feel sticky
with syrup.

She kisses the boy at her mother’s,
his face so similar, the long jaw and dimpled grin
that twists something sharp inside her
when he salutes and says, “Happy Fourth.”

At the diner
the manager has left her rolls of red and blue streamers
which are gauzy like bandages.
She ties bows along the wainscoting, the juke box, a row of stools.
She recalls the day he left, him looking like another man in that uniform,
old yet not,
brave but scared.
Two hundred twenty-three days from yesterday.

The first couple through the door
shake off rain and tell her
the weather is a bitch.
The little girl orders pumpkin pie but
her Mom says it has to be apple,
pumpkin is Thanksgiving.
The girl beats the vinyl seat,
beats it like a war drum,
her little fists pounding to be noticed.

1 comment:

Anjeanette said...

This reads like a story, I enjoyed it!