Talking to Alice as she smokes outside the restaurant
where she works as a waitress, in a hokey red and pleated
uniform, some salt-of-the-earth and down home nonsense.
The smoke stinks, and I know it’ll stick to my clothes,
and I’ll smell it on the ride back home afterwards,
but it’s worth it, to be near here, to fell a closeness in winter.
Alice is like me, close to forty, not where we want to be,
so we tell off-color jokes and talk about how the war
ruined it all, and how children are the cruelest mistakes.
Her shift starts in a few minutes, and she’ll go in, and so will I,
and she’ll get to work, and I’ll eat the heavy, greasy food here,
just because I got to steal a few minutes with her.
With someone who knows it’s all going to burn.