Dogs 2007

AFTERNOON BREAKFAST
(4/15/07)


I sat
at a small table
across a carpeted
walkway
from a row
of booths

two
middle-aged men
(my-aged)
sat directly
to my right
neither saying
anything
one glancing over
the other's shoulder
the other
staring down
sullenly
at the table

odd
but no
great happening
maybe they
had been talking
for hours
before coming
here

I ordered
an omelet
hash browns
pancakes
and coffee
food of such ilk
only palatable to me
after 3pm

I eased
into the hot blackness
feeling supremely comfortable
sitting there
alone
in my anonymity

still
no word
from across
the aisle
although patrons
at the booths
on either side
chatted away
unreservedly

my food
arrived
and my focus
was redirected
but after
a few mouthfuls
I began to suspect
that those two
were going
to remain silent
with one another

both
had ordered
verbally
one a meal
from the bargain menu
the other
simply
a whole pie
to go

meal man
was thin
downcast eyes
a worried look
about him
making his cheap
but neat clothes
look disheveled
even though
not a wrinkle
could be seen

pie guy
was stocky
very much in control
wide eyes attentive
as he surveyed the room
immaculately dressed
in a Sunday suit
looking like
some bag man
for Jesus

I continued
to enjoy
my morning fare
glancing to the side
as food was delivered
to their table
one ate
the other
continued
his watch

both
still argued
in their
silence

my meal
at an end
I stacked the dishes
and silverware
collected the check
and prepared
to stand
after taking
one last look

the worried one
was picking
every last morsel
from his plate

the confident one
finally looked across
at his companion
shaking his head

"worthless fuck-up"

the other
put his fork down
and his hands
in lap
as tears began
to flow
from both eyes

I got up
and left

breakfast
was over