There is a diner where the waitress lets down her hair,
despite Health Department directives,
or fevered men with their angry wives.
Each table has a miniature juke box
with songs on a flip wheel, 25 cents a number.
"Mister Sandman." "Brandy." "Spirit In The Sky."
You can order eggs, but the cook is loathe to break them.
He says he is haunted by the birds,
silent and accusing about their unlived lives.
At night, after closing, the cook and waitress go home together,
and take menus with them to remind themselves that everything has cost.
In her dreams, the waitress has an operatic voice, and can fly.
There is a clock in the diner, advertising a particular soft drink.
At exactly noon, the waitress stuffs napkins into a dispenser
until it is full to bursting. She hates a mess, that's why.
Come to the diner. Take the bus, avoid the downtown rush.
Bring a good appetite and order pancakes
warm and brown as the waitress's eyes.