Poem #17: Looking Out From Restaurant Windows

Looking out from Restaurant Windows

Hanny, make sure you do not step into that puddle;
the view is so aimless and subtle,
looking out from these unclean windows.
At the lake stumbling toward us,
never seeming to reach beyond the shore:
if not to have a drink, then what for?
Still above our table swings the chandelier,
lingering of its light, the water damage
in the ceiling something I don’t fear
dad couldn’t resolve, either—but he can’t correct
the widowed sky outside, without a hand to hold,
its cascading sympathy like a confession,
the rain as diamonds shattering upon the sidewalk,
like the taps of our fingers on the table as we talk.
Crumbs of your food sitting on your jacket:
they’re so hungry to be noticed, but we just
seem to always let them go.
“Dad, how come when I’m not around, you have to stow
away and do things I wish I was there for?
Like going out for ‘delicious beverages,’
and speaking in the third person in the store?”
Even so, I admire the ambulance driving slow, hushed,
while a Mustang peels down the avenue,
trying to impress some flyleaf witness.
Mitchell Creek is running right round the bend,
and I wish I could see the river’s end
from the window, but I can only view part
of the bridge, the sentinel of the creek.
The food arrives before I even know,
the bill curtly expensive under the tarnished glow
of the dim chandelier light on the auburn seats,
for simple people eating simple food,
listening now and then to folk rock back beats.
A walk and dinner all in one,
living so close to the restaurant as we do;
must be why Auntie Jan and Grandma Millie
enjoy it so much. Today though, this moment of today,
I’m fasting for this day to end weakly, right away;
I’m eating fast, I laugh, looking out the window,
seeing all the gulls, a white halo above the silver bay.
I’m so full, but in no such hurry,
to leave today behind without a worry.
In hindsight, I think I spent most my desire
looking out the window than at my plate.
Walking away from the chandelier, its tiring ire
fading with the last shift, I step into that puddle,
happening to look back; and isn’t it a shame that they
clean the windows right after we leave—
only to become dirty again?

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