Today's poem is by Claire Millikin
At the end of childhood, I worked in a restaurant.
At dusk my father would enter, uninvited
and sit in my section on purpose, knowing I wanted nothing of it.
He would order a meal, gruffly, as if I had hurt him
his eyes on my apron front ties. Sweating
from the long shift,
I delivered, wordless, world less, the food of furrowed dusk, succus.
Deer nosed the side of the restaurant, cinderblock.
I never asked another waitress to serve him
it never crossed my mind to protect myself,
or him, reflected in night's circumference
at the wide windows before the road out of town.
For bad dreams always lead to the same place.
Coin by coin, bring them to the register but don't count
yet the leaves shuttling-for mercy,
shadows at the corner of sky
when he reaches into your pocket to pay.
Copyright © 2015 Claire Millikin All rights reserved
from After Houses
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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