288 Readings | 2 Ratings

When All Else Fails

There is always something in my way–
the memory of my mother and father talking
to the television, weather that traps me

inside and breathless, an old boyfriend singing
in my stomach. I fail at loving. To escape,
I often come to this diner, sit in a corner booth,

where I can be distant and unreliable to strangers
instead of you. In this place I don’t have to return embraces.
One night, when the waitress offers me a menu,

her small, harsh hands soften on touching mine.
Here, her hands say, is a woman who, despite
her graciousness, believes no one in the world

can be trusted. I stare at my palms, thinking
I come here too often, while a man walks through
the kitchen door. His eyes are steady, his flushed cheeks

saying he will smash that television, erase clouds, replace
that song. He slides my dinner across the table like an invitation,
as if he knows what I need. As if I believe he could.

Posted 06/04/12
This poem originally appeared in Juked on January 17, 2012.
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