I hear her clear her throat
just as I sit down in the restaurant with my daily news and hangover.
I recognize that sound, like a polite ghost in a cartoon
drawing Shaggy from a Scooby-snack and I scan the room.
And there she sits. Looking at me
with wide eyeholes and crooked smile
the same way she did when we kissed a while back
in Dinkytown, between the parked cars on 4th St.
while buses blew force fields to shield us
from the eyes of the fidelity police. Even before
I returned to the house that day
she was already taxiing down the runway, bag under seat
filled with her Dramamine, diaphragm and Eurail pass.
We said no goodbye on 4th, though it was implied
and only later confirmed from some phone box in London.
Now, here I am with a hankering for coffee and eggs
and greasy beast meat and there’s something
that brought her back to the States and this same nasty diner
where she and I liked to eat after screwing in the sunbulb of dawn.
She’s still like that photo from my brainpan
but crossed with a catcher’s mitt and I know
there’s more to me than there once was,
but all that seems secondary when I find that she and I
are not only in the same country again, but even
within spitting distance. Then,
the waitress is at my table slopping coffee
into a mug and asking What’ll it be, hon?
I think it’s clear that I came here only for the eggs,
but her muffin sure looks good too.
I don’t know what to say.
First published in Thieves Jargon