In Which I Go to Dinner

With a final line from Blake

I turn on the radio and

hear trumpets and here’s

Raul Esparza all marry me

a little, love me just

enough, and sweetly

I slip out the bathroom

window and into my tidy

little car on the street which is

a femoral artery to a formerly bad

part of town where the mortuary

at the tippy-top of the city

had been turned into a restaurant

some summers ago and everyone is delighted

to pay twenty or thirty dollars for their tiny plates,

and so sick with longing am I I parallel

park and climb the street like a ladder.

Hello hello, and I wait for a table. Outside,

people are standing in line for ice cream

and waffle cones for their ice cream

and I can smell it all and I ask for a newspaper

while I wait but oh no there’s no news

anymore, not for a long time. Well

some music, then. We can have

all the music we want. I’m seated

at last, and all the waiting over,

made to drink water from a pale blue

mason jar by an open second-story

window. I’m pleased by the heavy

cream-colored recycled paper menus

and the sans-serif font which everywhere

adorns them and I ask the waiter

where is all the food on the menu,

anyways? She is older than me her

eyes two too-warm chocolate wafers, and she

asks me what would eating be for. I say fair,

but why the restaurant and she says we like

the real estate. And what a nice view,

she says, that trusty white-steel bridge

stretching its young body over Cherry Creek,

and how fine the spindles of its great back

up and away from heaven, and I ask her

what are they waiting for down there anyway,

and we lean out the window to see

the people waiting between

the great many Amazon Prime

boxes which have been made the lungs

of our city. What are they waiting for, the sun

isn’t even hot today, it’s just bright.

She refills my mason jar and she tells me

they just like waiting, and at my table

she lights a candle in the sunshine.


Originally from Colorado, Katana Smith is a poet living, working, and studying in Galesburg, a town in western Illinois, where she is an undergraduate at Knox College.