© 2018 Rebecca Wralstad. All Rights Reserved. Time-stamped by Beta Readers.
Instead of defeating a deadline
I wake up in a late-night diner,
Al Green on the jukebox.
I am tired of being alone.
So, I scoot into a booth
and the plot-driving man opposite me
pulls a Tarot card.
He lays it facedown between us
and I reach for a menu;
There should be tension under small talk.
Our waitress confesses
she wants to be a singer
but, other than that surprise,
I see nothing beyond the steamed-up windows,
a highway-sided parking lot,
and weak streetlights unable to
illuminate the rest of the world.
There is only this scene:
the jangle of cheap cutlery,
a sizzling griddle,
the soft cough of inspiration
drinking coffee in the booth behind me.
I don’t know my date
but he tips a flask into his soda
I am the femme fatale.
I put up the orders for the winking cook
who is somehow in on the joke.
I arrange the customers along the counter
and decide who is down on their luck.
I shove the tipsy kids, still content with their day jobs,
far in a booth in the back.
I admire the shift worker
with his Carhartts and mechanical Zen,
and I hope the scratch-off in his pocket
is a winner.
I can’t punch a clock
when I fall into scenes like this one.
Didn’t you hear the bell ring?
and I can already taste the French fries.