Just outside of Hartford –
off I-84, I stopped.
Some Jewish joint I presumed,
reasoning from the dishes of pickles
and chattery waitresses with frizzy dark up-do’s.
The counter – with table settings for ghosts –
lined the back wall, decked in reflective nickel.
I chose an end seat by the window.
In front of me I laid the paper,
exposing the half finished crossword
on the back of the Sunday Times –
last week’s edition.
3 across – bear market.
Pen down, and drop the creamer
into the black coffee served in a modest mug.
A few seats down,
patrons were discussing the tax bill;
bantering on about the “one-percent” – those bastards.
They had their facts wrong,
but I didn’t interrupt.
The waitress chimed in, coffee pot in hand.
A few words about her sick child, and lack of healthcare;
“Something is going around,” – but isn’t it always.
I’ll leave a couple extra dollars on the tip,
the only recognized compassion in this day and age.
She slides me a menu.
Two eggs, scrambled, rye toast.
I place my order, and notice the radio.
A familiar tune broke the static,
the same one I heard in Portland live.
A State Theaters show – I went with an old friend,
some underrated band, what else at 18.
Damn, I haven’t talked to him in a while.
The stools remind me of the diners in New York.
My dad and I had a favorite place, lower east side –
halfway between Empire State and the Rockefeller.
He’d get the corned beef, I’d get the deli salad.
We’d talk politics – who would the Republicans run in the fall;
more importantly, who they really should.
Toying around the scraps on our plate,
until he motioned for the check.
And now, I do the same.
Just like that – fleeting moments
that carry so many notions,
brought up in milliseconds;
amongst the unexpected stops
on once familiar interstates
that now only serve as thru-ways,
to our destination – unknown.