The waitress’ fingers touch mine
when she hands me the beer.
The waitress’ feet brush my toes
when she brings my family their food.
The waitress and I exchange
helium brows and icy fuck-me eyes.
Sucked into a cloud of fried-food,
we escape for fifteen minutes
and disappear to the movie-set motel
we imagined one afternoon
when I was drunk and being half-honest.
She’ll close the cheap red velvet drapes
and offer me the last drag of the first smoke
from the pack she bought with my tip
and tell me that she plans to get married someday.
She’d talk about my wife while slipping off
her tight sweater and stepping out of her skirt.
She’ll mention the book I wrote when I was skinny
while unclasping her bra, and we’ll balk
in the chokehold of stale smoke and cry.
The waitress knows me and my family,
she serves us pizza and fills my beer
when it’s low—not finished, but almost.
Better Luck Next Year:
by Ally Malinenko
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