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 thick, light pink sweater

her gray frizzy hair tight in a bun.
Her cane is against the wall behind her
and big, round, tortoiseshell 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 fresh lipstick
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. But she knows

what to do. She always comes on Sunday morning.
That is why she wakes.
It’s tradition. Traditions need not be stopped
even when they bring back that sense of sadness.

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


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

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