Doors Open — 6 a.m.

CJ takes his bacon crisp,
toast rye, eggs easy.
Every now and again,
those let-em-lie hash
moaning on the flattop
til the edges go twine.
He ain’t smiling on those days,
rather, he beads off his red eyes
to some muscular task ahead
as he counts the tile.

John, he ticks like a junkie:
medium, white, light butter,
fidgets with his tie, no pig
today. Open-face-Tara
climbs to stool beside, shoots
him a nod. She’s that one
slice pumpernickel, grilled
American, scram just
this side of legal, garnish
with hoops of scallion.

Off-menu-Arlen strides in,
all bruise-nail mechanic,
silver-haired, split biscuit
and gravy, double sun
and srirach, make it bloody,
he says, stack it high.
Don’t be cheap with the sauce.
I pinch the membrane, set
the white, brown the edge.
He works the room like Carlin,

And everybody breaks. Felix
calls ahead as usual, steak
and onion omm, add Swiss,
black toast, dry, five outta seven,
pick-up at eight. Rod’ll be in
by nine. Drop the browns at ten
til. Gretta takes a ‘rito. Easy
Phil comes for coffee and the music of spats, and
Wreckingball, well Wreckingball, he keeps me guessing
on whether he’ll show or not.

Image:Leti Kugler on Unsplash

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