Diner, Corner Back Booth

In the beginning there was the word and according
to someone it was pretty
good not great not second-rate
but good like a piece of pie at a diner
late at night with your high school friends people you have
intermittent good times with
but only intermittently despite the late nights despite the
lousy coffee all this qualification
all this
quantifying all this good
and bad and good and bad turning over like a new
penny a half-cooked pre-spatulated
pancake a deceased goldfish a vulvic garden awaiting seeds
and despite all this
you will strike a match and set the
world strike me and set
the word on fire this burning romance this
smoldering glance your telltale clichéd
eye-rolling and hardline stance and please give me
your hand your love your
firstborn your word of honor that your honor is
unimpeachable you preach a
peach I’ll teach you to eat and you
my ice-plum beauty
dare yes you will dare and even
intermittently will cease to tweak
will cease to sigh as if the world’s
as if the word’s your pearl your words you wear like
so many technicolor coats and oh yes my oh yes
I’ll tweak your plummy cheeks until the word
the world tilts and you see my windmills and you
will be my darling my love the best girl in the
world and yet who would have
thought that a girl like you could destroy my
beautiful wickedness and all
the lousy coffee
in the world cannot—coffee!—all this all
the lousy coffee in diners
in high school wearing plum
lipstick and drinking bad coffee writing bad
and despite it all I still love your sweaty tart
words and cast-off eyes
and starry starry teeth looking away like a peekaboo
doll playing with all
of us these letters we cannot read cannot read
cannot and despite all our
edification education anticipation palpitations writ
in burnished steel cannot and only
intermittently can we YOUR CLOTHES keep
matching this match this beatified dish of steaming words
you’re striking they match I’m watching you keep
writing your clothes the
keeper of my heart keeper of the watch my mouth is
closed sealed assaulted
by early and verbiage so much garbage lousy coffee
and YOUR CLOTHES this
gibbering shirt of disdain distilled
to drama and all the cold plums
and black boughs and kissed young
thumbs and oh god your clothes! shirt of
hair and glamour so agile
made of twenty silver coins and all
your love a swirl of dazzle
mine eyes have seen the glory of these words the world
the work the eyes the clothes OH GOD YOU
ARE AN EMPEROR and this endurance
I cannot end cannot like
lousy coffee just cannot endure.

Siân Killingsworth is a writer living in Northern California who holds an MFA from The New School. Siân’s work has been published in journals such as The Oakland Review, the Columbia Poetry Review, and Mudfish.

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One Response to Diner, Corner Back Booth

  1. Stephen Roberts says:

    Wow.

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