Jeni Bell (jeniwrites) wrote,
Jeni Bell

Poetry Friday: "Ritual" (an original poem)


We sit cramped in a restaurant booth,
eating hamburgers with pickles
and greasy french fries
just like we used to do
when I was small,
just like we do every month
when you come back
from business trips in far-away places
to see your "little girl."
You look tense in your
three-piece suit,
tie perfectly straight,
every button in place,
yet still you insist on coming here.
"You used to love this place,"
you say with a laugh,
but your laugh is hollow,
drowned among
the clatter of dishes,
babies crying,
waitresses yelling orders:
"Chicken on rye, hold the mayo!"
You pretend that you love
greasy french fries and
hamburgers on stale buns,
while I pick at an icy slush
with the tip of my straw.
Eventually you will ask me the same question
that you always have,
that you always will,
and that has become as stale as these hamburger buns:
"How is your mother?"
And I will answer automatically, "Fine."
The silence will continue
to press against us,
and finally you will take me home,
to my house
("It looks so different"),
until we return to that diner
just like we used to
when I was small,
just as we have done every month
since the divorce.

-- Jeni Bell

Happy Friday! Happy Writing!

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