Poem – Writing This Morning

© 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

sensing correctly

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?

Orders up


and I can already taste the French fries.