Waffle House, Nashville, TN
The world is too much with us . . .
I was hardly in the world anyway
so at shift change, the waitresses
huddled in the corner didn’t notice me,
because everything was weighed down
with grey. Looks like rain,
a gas station attendant in Jackson told me,
but all I could do was laugh, I felt
so heavy as we watched the numbers
on the meter click. Looks like it’ll never
stop. This I knew, but still in the fluorescence
of the Waffle House, my hand would not
be steady, lack of sleep, too much speed.
Someday, I want to go out
with just the girls, a waitress said,
course I’ll be 30 . . . 40 . . . maybe 50
before I have the time or the money.
I wanted to write a friend and tell him
I’d never get married, not the way
things were going, not the way
I’d left my lover this morning
with the failed omelet
because although I’d tried, the tines
of the plastic fork curled away
and it would not fold, not the way
he’d said good-bye over and over
so it was still ringing in my ears
a hundred miles down the road,
not like this. I took a bite
of my sandwich, and I understood
how people became anorexic.
It just plain hurts to eat.