waitress poems

Friday, November 04, 2005


After visiting you
in the hospital, I dine alone,
the only party of one
in this bistro
where even the silverware
comes in pairs, in groups,
in clattering crowds.

I want to write a note
on my linen napkin
or the check, the stark
and gleaming table top
to explain that I'm alone this this time
not because I'm afraid
or abandoned, or lost

in a strange city,
but because today
riding the elevator up
to your white room,
I crowded in close enough
to smell the make-up and aftershave
my fellow passengers wore

to mask their sorrow.
Coming down, I rode alone,
my own sorrow folded
neatly in my purse,
while a sharp silence
looked over my shoulder,

by the clamor my life makes.
Tonight I take that silence
to dinner.
I drink martinis and feel it
spinning drunk inside me,
feel it laughing at my
polished manners,

hiding behind my teeth
when I talk to the waitress,
a smiling young woman
with a thick yellow braid
that shines like a snake
coiled around her head
and into itself.


  • this really captures that awful antiseptic isolation and subsequent quarantine which hospital visits engender
    (if it is based on reality, i wish you well)

    By Blogger floots, at 11:20 PM  

  • patry, really like this poem.
    Brings me back memories of the times i used to dine alone every day.
    You are in the city, but you feel the loneliness everywhere.

    Thanks for the read.

    By Blogger dsnake1, at 9:56 PM  

  • I doubt I will ever understand just why I find so much beauty in sadness, but this, judged on that basis, is gorgeous... and besides that, strikes very close to home right now.

    Thanks for this one Patry.

    By Blogger Erin, at 11:41 AM  

  • floots: I do seem to have posted a number of illness related poems lately. A couple of them, including this one, are "found poems," i.e. buried in the drawer. Not exactly sure what was going on at the time I wrote it, but thanks for your kind thoughts.

    dsnake: Yes, there is something very lonely about solitary dining, but when I've done it, I've always felt I've observed more, and been more sensitive to my surroundings.

    erin: You bring up something I haven't thought about, but need to and will. Why DO we find beauty in sadness?

    By Blogger Patry Francis, at 9:29 PM  

  • I find this poem moving because it touches on something I have felt in the face of great emotion -- the need to pare down, for simplicity, for honesty -- but it also touches on something much darker, that sharp silence.

    By Blogger MB, at 1:06 PM  

  • Alone is a natural state, I believe. Reptiles never show lonliness; I wonder if they feel it? Being older seems filled with superficial crouds and solitary moments. I really felt a jangle from this poem, Patry, thanks!

    By Blogger Russell Ragsdale, at 4:58 PM  

  • I deeply admire the sensitivity of your poems magnifying the ordinary into an extraordinary encounter.

    By Anonymous Danny, at 7:36 PM  

  • I just love this to pieces. I don't have anything to say about it besides that. I just love it. :)

    Thank you.

    By Anonymous Sara, at 7:26 AM  

  • Moose: thank you for hearing that "sharp silence". I think it was what I was after, but am never quite sure, if you know what I mean.

    Russell: I think you should write a poem about reptiles and loneliness. Interesting topic. Thank you!

    Danny: Thanks so much for your visit and your comment.

    Sara: Being loved to pieces, even in poem form, makes me feel warm all over. Thank you!

    By Blogger Patry Francis, at 6:53 PM  

  • Patry,

    I question the double this in the following line:

    to explain that I'm alone this this time

    I greatly enjoyed the poem. No matter how alone we may feel at any given time, I think it is safe to say that we are never really alone. Thanks for this.

    By Blogger Vickie, at 7:11 PM  

  • I thought I had a handle on disconnection! What a beutifully solemn piece you have written. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

    By Blogger The Hungry Writer, at 8:19 PM  

  • I think the last stanza is the most striking, it has a hint of malice, haunting

    By Blogger Sue hardy-Dawson, at 11:27 AM  

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