There’s a man that’s been waiting
in that red vinyl booth
for days. I’ve tried to ignore him
from behind my note pad,
but in the morning, barely able
to stand, I demand he tells me
how he takes his eggs.
He doesn’t move.

I pour a pot of hot coffee
straight into his lap. I start chanting
my college fight song
and pawing down all the blinds.
I press a butter knife
to my throat, throw an order of hash
against the wall. Once and for all
I prove I’m unemployable.

When it becomes clear
he won’t be convinced,
I pull the net from my tangled hair
and shuffle, slouched, into the farthest
corner in the place. I hide my face
behind a glossy menu. I close my eyes
and in no time I’m alone.
I hear people come, and people go.
From time to time, I glance
out the window, toward the traffic
buzzing by, hoping my waitress
might visit my table soon. Sometimes,
I sense I’m being spoken to
or scolded, while other times
I hear a woman crying, a car door
clicking open, then slamming shut,
a motorcycle revving alive,
then veering into traffic, but it seems
little ever truly changes, and I’ve been
waiting here, with the rest of you,
hungry for years.

Justin Boening