The Waffle House Index, or: (if the Waffle House is closed the populace is shrinking) – John McCracken

But the signs are still on and the coffee is still brewing.
There is a solace in the buzzing of the local news channel.

I listen to trees uproot themselves to the key of eggs cracked
on the open grill and doubt that these walls could fall.

I didn’t think myself in the presence of a refuge until
the night we sat on the hillside and peered through its windows.

You sat close to me and I cried for the first time in a while
and you soaked up my proximal grief, a syrup weighing you down.

Somehow our view into the diner from that Kentucky motel
made me laugh and cheer at the thought of the lives on the inside.

We weaved stories about how the waitress had always been beautiful
and the truckers that kept their bellies full and minds sharp.

When I picture the end of the world with all of its trauma spread
across the landscape, I see highways cracking open and forests

scorched by the grace of God and wind speeds that could snap my
spine in half but I hear a jukebox still playing and our lives are something

infinite and non-perishable, and there is always a seat for me at this table.

John MccrackenJohn McCracken’s work has previously appeared in Illumination Journal and Glass Mountain. His work has also been performed as a part of Yucky Poetry. He is currently the co-founder and Editor for Rare Byrd Review, a journal for young writers and artists.