Peer Award 1999

Out Back

behind the dying diner he leans
out of the long-travelled wind
lights his last cigarette
tries not to wonder
where the freight trains go
or how it feels to count so many stars
from the red roof of swaying boxcars

now he curses the road that brings business
and takes away the young women
tries not to wonder how the
hawks feel when they track along
the blistered smudge of highway
like the dusty diner he is
a maybe stop between accidental roadkills

clouds down from montana lie about rain
his grimy apron riffles in the dusk breeze
now he is a bone mast on a sand ship
now the screen door hinges screech
the festering fat cook accuses
when you gonna bus table nine
the apron falls . . . never says the new fugitive

Doug Thiele

Copyright © 1999 Doug Thiele

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