Snippets from the Diner
The mother, hands shaky,
a cigarette burning between her fingers,
cradles her infant softly, lovingly to her chest.
The drunk girl back from the frat party,
shirt cut low, dizzy and begging for love
she was never given, always told she had to earn.
The boy who never quite fit in,
bragging to his friends, counting bodies,
goes home to an empty bed, an empty heart.
The young man waiting at the counter,
father since 15, hand in hand with his son,
no one knows she was 20, it wasn’t his choice.
The college dropout, working the bar,
grisly and hardened, arms full of tattoos,
returns to his mothers grave, like church every Sunday, he prays.
The old maid, the loveless, sits alone
neighbors’ whispers of her bitterness fill her head,
while the woman she could never have fills her heart.
The man in the yellow vest, hard hat,
slipping brandy into his coffee, he thinks no one sees,
sends all his earnings across the border, his family’s only hope.
The chef in the back, apron filthy,
face slicked with sweat, shift approaching 12 hours now,
just had his 3rd, a baby they couldn’t afford, loved nonetheless.
The sex worker, needles hiding away in her purse,
bruises on her arms, purple baggage heavy under her eyes,
is plagued by nightmares only the high can silence.
In this world, we do what we must do to survive.
There's nothing shameful about that.
My Lover, the Stranger
My lover looks upon me,
basks my features in honeyed day,
ignites the crimson blooms to flame
burning in the yellow fields.
She sets my soul ablaze
without rhyme sings to me
a melody of all things seen;
when I feel her, I feel it too.
The way she cups my cheeks,
smooths the creases of my mouth
into a gentle smile, lips part–
meet as they met long ago.
My love poems no match for
her gaze, pierces with knowing
kindness, she sees and understands
how I could never capture her.
Golden goddess, as she is,
shows me a lullaby of dusk,
I wake to her gentle risings,
mere breaths apart, I fall again.
She gives life, an energy unattained
by another, immaculate as Mary
in the manger, she is the star;
an embrace guiding me home.
The lover, the giver, the stranger,
known and not for lifetimes, pray
we meet again, in the yellow grass,
where you shone just for me.
Haley is a freshman English and Environmental Science major at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She mainly writes poetry and short fiction, often exploring themes of emotional complexity, empowerment, and loss in her work. When she isn’t writing, she likes to go on walks in nature, paint, and listen to music. In the future, she hopes to gain a professorship and publish her own books, with the intent of both creating change and exploring the multiplicities of the human experience. Her main goal in her work is to make others feel heard and understood in their hardships and triumphs.
"HARD HAT DAY IS OVER" by marc falardeau is licensed under CC BY 2.0.