waitress poems

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Smokers leave the best tips--
so says my friend Mary
who’s spent ten years balancing trays
and studying the impulses of men.
And what’s more they never
complain about the food;
they don’t send back the escargot;
the red meat is never too bloody
for their taste.
While the prudent huddle
in the smoke free section
inhaling caution in gulps,
the smokers signal Mary for
another round of martinis
scattering ash
with every flick of the wrist.
Heedless of the mountain
of grey dust they have left
in their wake,
the darkness simmering in
their lungs,
they have given up trying to hoard
their days, attempting
to number their breaths.
And in the end,
they open their wallets freely
and wink at my friend Mary,
as they amble into the darkness
leaving behind a starkly empty table,
the ash
of their reckless generosity.

first appeared in Gulf Coast


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