Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Poem #052

Dining Out, In Style

For tonight, she chooses the salad over the veggie wrap,
carefully counting the calories as she would a palmful of change,
satisfied that she was right on track. Weighing her options,
she decides that she’s all right and goes with the Diet Coke,
regular, of course – she doesn’t want all that hard work
to go to waste. Around her, the world is buzzing, like white
television static. She watches the fuzzy white lines pass
her by, quicksilver, wondering if they were hyper-people
running on new batteries. For the first time today, she feels
worn out, a rug that’s been scrapped by too many heels,
frayed wool braiding coming loose at the edges. She looks
at her tray and wonders at its lightness. The girl at the counter
gives her a rehearsed smile. She feels like she’s in front
of another camera. Returning the favor, she shuffles bills
from her wallet to the cashier’s outstretched hand. She glances
at her change, coins glinting dully underneath the dead white
light. Someone calls out her name. She turns
too quickly, and spills her drink across her tray. Looking up,
she realizes her mistake, and notes, quite serenely,
that there are no more vacant seats to be taken.

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