Soul Cry

All he’d ever wanted
In a diner
A moment of her time
Diners became cartoons
of themselves
bowed long ago
to franchises
So here is where he was

Macbook student, a booth for two
his backpack guest
Overflows with grad school

Forty-ish flight attendants
flashing nails
severe ponytails
carry-on handles extended
stand wheel-locked guard
at their table

The possibly blonde
furrows her brow
turns the phone
on its stomach as if to
Quiet a small child
Struggling with under bed monsters
Question mark eyes from the other
a simple shrug of no
One of them needs
to smile

Thick paperback woman
of age
glasses down her nose
her table covered
dozens of napkins
spotted with lipstick say fastidious
Her hair says modestly vain

Two deep blue scrubs eat salads
Speak of rectums and spleens and all the
Would you like more

A waitress so young cynical
Her eyes see no one
worth seeing
Deposits steam
in all the cups
Stained-glass colored
up dark t-shirt sleeves
black nail polish remains chipped
Thoughts, smiles
offered to her arrive

Her colorful arms should wrap
the sparsely bearded sandwich
handoff boy
somewhere fun, free
gray and drizzly
on an empty pier
His place later
Do each other’s nails while
he listens to her heart

Back across the granite table
by far
than the gulf of years between them
She sat quietly
A picture of herself
A frame of flesh and bone
If asked he’d call her expensive, well maintained like
the German car
he watched her park
Only it was newer than her
by far.

Yeah, yeah her husband
he heard her say
so healthy so wealthy so wise
So much
Smarter than a crystal ball
Rich as Croesus
believes in Jesus, had compassion stood by her
in her dark hours of grief
That was important for him
to understand
All the standing by

She had grieved
Too many hours
he would agree
Death close by comes hard
harder still
Cloaked in violence
in surprise
In quantity

Did he hear kind, giving, helpful, fun, funny
he must have missed them between great
wonderful hard working successful provider father
Couldn’t miss the children
Beautiful, smart, loving, doing
well and yes she played golf
Why did he ask?
Why did he smile?

She made that face when he
waitress and sandwich boy
She heard laughter
in his voice
Bodies wrapped together
undulating, melting into
a human painter’s palette
Had she forgotten
being young?

Her frown on such simple things
Such simple beings
easily affordable
And yet do you think
would they
Could they do each other’s
He would really
listen to her heart?
He could
possibly would
Do you think?

How would that pay
the bills
fill the time
the house
Impress the neighbors
and the board of

He smiled again
She remembered why
You’re still so…
she tried to find it
finish it

He’d gotten even
his coffee colder
while he listened to everything
Except her heart
She averted and avoided until he
locked her
in his vision
Caught her eye

Knew at once if a bit of her
made it through
The parted lips she moistened
with a tongue given
to keeping what was her
He would surely hear her soul

All he’d ever wanted
in a diner
a moment of her time

The dream offered only
And a moment of

To offer him more
He could see her soul
She knew that even
And she would never
allow him to see

Published by

Phil Huston

2 thoughts on “Soul Cry”

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