Breakfast Alone

It's the breakfast buffet at 7:45,
with scrambled eggs in watery pans,
toast curling by the instant coffee,
home fries tossed in sodden heaps.

The couple at the window table are not
speaking. Her gaze is fastened on
the parking lot: his eyes are with the waitress.
"American Pie" sings goodbye from somewhere.

When he was fourteen, she was twelve;
they spent the summer running in and out
of each other's yards. They climbed up to
his treehouse, sticky palms from oozing sap,

thunder rolling down like boulders, his father
yelling from the porch to get their asses
back inside before the lightning fried 'em alive.
She kissed him on the cheek and ran for home.

He squinted through the rain
at her flashing legs and knew
he'd always follow. He would trace
her face's shape down to her smile.

He'd been sparing with his words;
he'd pared it down to simple touch.
But forty years along the kids are gone,
the business sold,

and he knows what she will say
and she's heard everything he knows,
and there isn't any cause
to look for wonder any more.

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