Observation from the Corner

It is Sunday: a day for family.
She sits alone at a table for two
somewhat silhouetted against the dirty glass window.
She wears a rough, light pink sweater

her gray frizzy hair tight in a bun.
Her cane is against the wall behind her
and her big, round, tortoise shell glasses rest
far down on the tip of her nose.

Her hand shakes ever so slightly, almost delicately
as she brings a teacup to her lips –
they are red with lipstick as old as she
and leave a curved mark upon the cup.

She puts down her fork, finished with brunch
though half of it remains
and fingers the stained napkin on her lap
as if unsure of what to do.

She always comes on Sunday. In the morning.
That is why she wakes.
It’s tradition.
Tradition should not be stopped.

She stands, grabs her cane and beaten leather purse
then hobbles, back hunched, eyes to the ground
out the door.
She leaves a curved, red mark upon her teacup.

 

3rd place James L. Price III Memorial Prize in Poetry
St. Lawrence University, 2010