for John Berryman
I stray through the fiberglass door,
its three unrevealing portal windows
disguising the Lichtenstein imitations,
wire brushed jazz,
the bodega addition next door.
I drift to the splay table,
front and center in the ambianced room.
A hostess seats me near a window
with a view of the lake.
A busboy delivers water
with a slice of lemon
wedged on the lip of the glass.
A waiter takes my food order
and tells me of a special
not chalked on the front board.
Finally, the sous chef,
with tie tucked into his apron,
emerges from the kitchen
just to say hello.
I butter bread, pay homage to salad,
indulge in the blackened salmon.
Outside the seagulls stand
at the end of the pier,
oblivious birds unaffected by the rain
that pelts the boatless docks
and pricks the surface of the lake,
each drop creating and destroying
ripples with seconds of life expectancies.
And suddenly between a drink of water
and a glance out the window,
I realize that with just a little bit of courage,
I would forego my meal,
and walk forever under the terrible water.