Breakfast again, your order replicated from yesterday,
but you can’t help wanting the same thing and why
shouldn’t you, why the slight shame, the watery
embarrassment at the table, the waitress to your right
scrambling on her pad, so what, what’s wrong with sweetness
and starch, wanting my eggs just so,
the bowl of overpriced fruit, the persistent
coffee refills the busgirl offers, perimetering the restaurant.
You are just as hungry as yesterday,
perhaps even more so given the hour, and you need
the calories, the vitamins, the protein, the reinforcment
for this stranger city you are in, in it and in it,
and aren’t you lucky in the midst of that strangeness,
knowing what you like, knowing what will fill you,
what will feed you?
The day has to begin somewhere.
Why not here, again?
Still, out of sheepishness at the return,
you contemplated the alternatives, the gaggle
of cafes downtown no doubt bearing
better cups of coffee, the fancy brunch spots
with their champagne cocktails and stiff linens.
You’d thought about the farmer’s market, even,
shuffling the stalls to pluck single servings
from the freebee tray, like a crow.
But you knew, deep down, in the fire of your belly,
you knew what you need for the sharp corners,
each razory highway. You knew what grief called for,
what anchored the filmy horizon line of your courage,
what lay the tracks for fresh hope.
So you did not avert your gaze at the waitress,
even when she paused mid-way in her penmanship,
already anticipating the rest. You did not speed through
your breakfast, aiming for a quick getaway
before anyone could further notate your predictable nature,
your unevolved palate, your lack of risk and spice.
You did not apologize – to anyone, to yourself –
for the six half-slices of bread pooling in syrup,
for the buttery eggs and the voluminous coffee.
You did not apologize for the price or the place
or for the instructions your stomach gave to return
from where you had been only just yesterday, at a table
so much like this one.
Instead, you made an alliance with this meal.
You said, “I give myself to you.”
You lay prostrate before the plates with sugar on your lips.
Sometimes, things remain where you left them, waiting
to be of service again. Sometimes, the cure for sadness
is softness. Sometimes, you remember not to strain so hard,
to align with simplicity and the plate right in front of you,
to migrate a little closer to home.