The Waitress at the Blue Light Cafe
by Tobi Cogswell

goes outside during breaks.
She can’t hear herself think
among the din of white-noise.
Spots on her uniform
belie the care she takes.
A small ladder up white
nurse’s stockings prove
the clock was against her
this morning, as with most
mornings. The days
specials join her to-do list
on the back of her pad:
chicken pot-pie, finalize divorce,
it’s the same assurance
of contentment regardless.
Dandelions grow in the back
alley, wind-born seeds as fleeting
as the eggs-on-toast devoured
by tipsy businessmen
sobering up before facing
home, fumbling to return
rings from side pockets
onto fingers, fooling no one,
least of all their wives.
She leans against the wall,
the stippling of texture
pronounces her shoulder blades.
Three hours left. Then wash
the smell of grease and salt
away, the incense of her church
left behind, the promise of
tomorrow asking to be taken in,
and breathed.

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