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A Diner


ISSUE:  Winter 2004

Ithaca, NY, 1972


Saturday mornings I’d take my young sons
to breakfast while my wife slept late. They liked
to spin on the counter stools, so I plunked
myself between them and slowed them down,
left, right, left, right, until our food came: juice,
milk, French toast doused by “surp,” crinkled bacon.
Caption: Young father shepherding his sons.
But what if one began to weep? “Jesus,”
he snuffled, “save me; my teacher hates me.”
And the other spun so fast on his stool
he spread his arms wide to keep his balance
and thus raked his plate, like a sopped discus,
into his neighbor’s purse. Only a fool
would hope to be absolved, or maybe three.

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