waitress poems

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Of all the places you never visited,
this is the one you miss most:
a third rate motel with salt-scraped paint
less than a mile from home.
Here you never stole a smoke in the bathroom
while the face of a passionate traitor
took shape in the mirror.
Here you never agreed to meet the man
who taught you longing
could become a form of madness.
This is the place where you
never peeled back the cotton spread,
and invited the ravenous world inside:
reckless sea, smear of purple sky,
those noisy gulls who linger in the parking lot,
their hunger never appeased.
Sure, you thought about it a few times,
but something--duty? fear?
the vestige of childhood’s cross
marking forehead, heart, lips--
always kept you back. Now when you
pedal past the Oceanview on your bike,
it is closed for the season.
And when you peer through the window,
hoping for a furtive glimpse
at the life you never lived,
the mirror is empty of everything
but this biting winter morning;
the encroaching sand
sharp as glass in your eye.
Far too many times, you said no.


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