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.


Photography by:  Srikanta H. U on Unsplash