People move in and out of tables
around us, each ordering plates of eggs
and toast. The smell of pancakes with
maple syrup is sickly sweet after
long hours in the ER, saving lives.
Both of us sit there
in an abbreviated second wind,
the years showing on her face
as I am sure they also do on mine
with all the losses we cannot forget.
There are tears over shared tragedies,
still fresh and painful,
that lead to ragged napkins
crumpled on the table amongst
the empty creamers and cold coffee.
She leaves the spot across from me
and I am suddenly aware of what this life
will become; one thankless night
after another, spanned over the decades
of my life, until I am here again
watching people drip egg on their shirts.
They make straws into geometric designs
in the awkward silences between bites
and I think to myself that I should have hugged her
when she told me her friend died.
Aleathia Drehmer 2008
Published by Decompression, 12/10