About a year before she will become my mother Dolly
stands on sturdy legs, aching hips pressed against the
edge of the shiny metal counter at Tully’s Diner.
Thirty-nine and pale, sorting silverware, her quick
fingers separate forks from spoons from knives in the
last hour of her workday. Dark strands of damp hair
unfurl on her forehead. Her eyes move like lazy darts
across the room, through the big picture window and
all the way to the horizon pierced by tall stacks
streaming yellow-green smoke forever. Her eyes go
through the sky while flies zuzz and bounce against
both sides of the screen door, dying to get in or dying
to get out.
In five or ten minutes she will pour another round of
coffee for the elderly couple hunched in a corner
booth. They will drag slim french-fries through thin
puddles of ketchup, will not look up at her, not nod,
not say anything at all to her. She will seem to smile as
she places their bill on the table, as she hears the small
ting of the bell above the screen door, the swinging
screen door. She will turn to discover her new dark
Indian lover, turn to discover the man who will throw
his head back, laugh like a horse, speak with a voice
like the shuffling of wings. She will and she will and
then she will not take her eyes away from his devilish
face, the blade of his grin. She will not ever really take
her eyes away forever. She will give herself to him over
and over again. They will accidentally make me, make
chaos. And no matter how sturdy she stands or how
long she waits, I will not be unborn. And God, well,
God will never come down from his machine.
from Sentence, A Journal of Prose Poetics 2009.