Frail sparrows wait without flight

at the take-out counter.  The aroma

reduces the chill of hunger; accepting

gladly the warm prize they turn with hope,

stepping out into the cold.


Fast thoughts whisk across tables and

counters.  Words mixed with coffee and

cigarettes fuel pointing fingers as the world

is explored over hamburgers and fries.

A song locks uneasily into the air.  The words

compete against the clang of empty dishes

and silverware.


Initials on a greasy window.  Uneven

checkerboard tiles.  Stained tablecloths.

Used napkins under the tables.  A lone salt

shaker.  Mustard without a top.  Faces like

shells on the beach.  Hats tipped.  Long sleeves,

sandals, scuffed boots.  Everyone hides in the open.

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