I retired from the practice of cardiology in 2016, and since then I have been learning to pay attention to my environment and see the poetry around me. I live in Neenah, WI, with my wife and two sons. My work has appeared in Verse-Virtual and Millwork.
At the Ojibwa All-Night Diner
Nothing else open this time of night
between Spooner and Woodruff. Old man and
woman shuffle to the first table. Worn
wood chairs scrape across the chipped
linoleum floor as they sit. Waitress
scribbles on her green pad, jet black eyes and
hair and teenage resignation. Fry cook
father slumps in his chair and reads a
newspaper. Kitchen bell interrupts Hank
Williams belting out “I’m So Lonesome I
Could Cry” on the chrome and neon Wurlitzer.
Old man steadies his sandwich, probably
a cold ham and cheese on whole wheat with
mustard and onion but no pickle, carefully
cuts it corner to corner, silently
slides one half onto his wife’s plate as she
wearily adjusts her glasses and unrolls
a napkin. Hank’s voice wails: “Did you ever
see a night so slow as time goes draggin’ by?
I’m so lonesome I could cry”.
First published in Millwork 1/18
©2018 Fredric Hildebrand
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