Six PM, 25 December, 2001
It is her birthday, still she works
The wok, offering noodles, broccoli,
Special home-baked Christmas cookies
Brought to the table in a plaid tin.
Ruskin, home of the traveling tomato,
Plays host to a broad cross-section
Of Christmas diners. No Tet here. An
Eight-pack multi-generation family walks in.
Spanish and Chinese attempt to communicate
In English. Three couples in a row
Pick up take out. Over 60, loneliness
Screams from behind steaming plastic lenses.
Intermingled fortunes make her wonder
What the next customer will want.
You can’t believe everything you eat,
But we know crunchy veggies cleanse.
The dog and the dragon do not always get along.
She says thank you so much as she accepts
A three-song CD gift from a strange man,
Now done eating, looking to make a call.
Hard working Spanish-speaking revelers
Eat Chinese for Christmas dinner. She
Points to a pay phone, so the dog and dragon
Talk, then drive away from the vacant mall.
Copyright, Doug Stuber, 2002. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given, and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.