Waitress in a Small Town Seaside Tavern

Monday, January 14, 2019
Maybe a surfboard hit her, you say.
Though folks whisper, her man beats her,
and there are no waves today.
Her eye is black and sealed like a shutter.
We've all heard, her man, he beats her.
Still, we look at her and then look away,
her eye is sealed like a shutter.
(There are no waves this week; the sea is calm today.)
We glance at her, then quickly look away
as evening darkens the gray-green sea.
Since the ocean is calm today,
we drink; she brings us two more whiskeys.
Evening falls across the sea.
She lowers the lights; now the bar’s dark, too,
she brings us another round of whiskeys.
Now her bruise looks less black, more blue,
with the lights lowered—the bar’s dark, too—
so we can hardly see the mark,
her bruise looks less black and more blue.
You say, maybe it's a shadow; it’s just dark.
Now we can barely see her mark,
as her man sits down with their boy in a booth.
You say, see: it's a shadow. Outside it's getting dark.
She sags across him; slips off one shoe.
The man sitting with their son in the booth
reaches over and strokes her face.
She meets his gaze, slips off her other shoe:
her body's stiff, as if stuck in an invisible embrace.
Her man sits with her son in the booth.
Maybe a surfboard hit her, you say, again, hopefully.
But I see she's stuck in an invisible embrace,
and there are no waves today.
Monday, January 14, 2019