For the Sad Waitress at the Diner in Barstow

Posted by - December 20, 2016 - Issue No. 16.3


beyond the kitchen’s swinging door,
beyond the order wheel and the pass-through piled
high with bacon, hash browns, biscuits and gravy,

past the radio, tuned to 101.5-FM
All Country – All the Time,
past the truckers overwhelming the counter,
all grab-ass and longing.

in the middle of morning rush you’ll
catch her, in a wilted pink uniform,
coffee pot fused in her grip, staring over
the top of your head

you’ll follow her gaze, out the fly-specked, plate
glass windows, past the parking lot,

watch as she eyes those 16-wheelers barreling
down the highway, their mud guards
adorned with chrome silhouettes of naked women
who look nothing like her.

the cruel sun throws her inertia in her face.
this is what regret looks like.

maybe she’s searching for that hot day in August
when she first walked away from you.

there’s a choking sound
a semi makes, when it pulls off the
highway; that downshift a death rattle
she’s never gotten used to.

maybe she’s looking for a way back.
maybe she’s ready to come home.

(But for now) she’s lost herself
between the register and the door, the endless
business from table to kitchen, she’s

as much leftover as those sunny side eggs,
yolks hardening on your plate.

Published in The San Pedro River Review, 2016


ABOUT THE POET:  Find Alexis Rhone Fancher’s poems in Best American Poetry, 2016, Rattle, The MacGuffin, Slipstream, Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles, Hobart, Mead, Chiron Review, Cleaver,and elsewhere. She’s the author of How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen & other heart stab poems, and State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies. Her photos are published worldwide, including spreads in River Styx, Rogue Agent, and the covers of Witness and The Mas Tequila Review. Since 2013 Alexis has been nominated for 7 Pushcart Prizes and 4 Best of the Net Awards. She is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly. She grew up in Topanga and now lives in Los Angeles. 


Photo © 2009 Kalani Odum