Diners – Rachel R. Baum

I wake up during the night thinking about death
What happens to the memory of a Basque restaurant
In Paris and the smell of day-old wedding gardenias
How the Miss Albany and Miss Troy diners have
Disappeared or become ramen noodle bars

Outside the shiny railcar a line of people would wait
For one of the 5 or 6 booths to empty
One step closer to a mug of coffee home fried
Potatoes mixed fruit jelly in sticky cubes<
A waitress named Cindy

My eyes burn with unseen smoke and I wonder
If eulogies are always written by clergy
They would surely leave out an important event or award
Maybe the hard banquettes and the swiveling backless
Counter stools were just too uncomfortable

Did anyone order the eggs benedict if all they
Really wanted was avocado toast or a kale omelet
There are cemetery forests now like Arbor Day all year
Family members might wonder at the extravagance
But bring a picnic instead of flowers anyway

The diners had tiny bathrooms with a sliver of cloudy mirror
Miniature sinks balancing on metal stilts
Are last words buoyant do they float like unmoored ships
In Antarctica an entire town drifted on icebergs
It too is gone.

Rachel BaumRachel R. Baum is a professional dog trainer, former librarian, licensed private pilot, kayak angler, and Covid Long Hauler. She is the author of the blog BARK! Confessions of a Dog Trainer and the editor of Funeral and Memorial Service Readings Poems and Tributes (McFarland, 1999) Her poems have appeared in High Shelf Press, Ariel’s Dream, Drunk Monkeys, Wingless Dreamer, Poetica Review, Bark magazine, Around the World anthology and others.