“I’m doing well, but I’ve started smoking again.
Being home, you know?
Linda hasn’t changed.”
I shouldn’t be listening to table 73
for snatches of conversation I can use to
write poetry, but it feels like
we are serving each other that way.
A bird eats a pad thai noodle below
table 76, and I make a grocery list
on old receipts.
“Is there a wait for a table out here?”
The woman with oversized sunglasses and an Hermes bag
stands very close to me and smells like a dream.
We survey the small outside cafe together.
“Hm, all of the tables are full,
so I guess there is a little bit of a wait, huh?”
I don’t get paid to be an asshole. But sometimes
the customers want to be shepherded. They’ve had
a hard day. I try to be gentle
when I repeat their words back to them,
when I remind them that what they ordered is not,
nor has it ever been on our menu.
Suddenly I am aware that
I have not shaved my legs in at least
a week and am wearing a knee length skirt.
“So Linda said, “Well, couldn’t you just miss the meeting?”
I mean, everything is fine, but she doesn’t get it. And
work is really taking off, you know? Finally.”
It would be hard not to listen. He is speaking to
all of us. There is a ring of spicy coconut soup
on my shirt from trying to carry too many bowls
at one time.
I fill up water glasses, grab empty chopstick
wrappers and dirty napkins. The sun is just
starting to sink behind the New York Film Academy,
while a lady at table 75 feeds the small dog in her purse
pieces of salmon sashimi.
I make a to do list after taking 83’s order.
Read Ashbery packet for lit. class
Critique poems for workshop and
Send thank you note to the Wasko’s
Buy Miriam root beer
Write a poem
The shift is just about over.
Table 73 wants their check.
His Parliaments are out on the table.
Linda wouldn’t understand
and I’m not waiting for their tip.