Soul Food

Ginny MacKenzie

You pull into a diner and order your life
to change. On the road
you saw farmhouses
with stacks of frayed hay,
cows leaning into them.
You saw a skinny farmer.
You saw sadder things.
But the diner’s incandescence
flickers optimism as if
everyone there wants to know
your dream. You might tell them.
First you stand on the mint-
green seat of your booth
and change the bulb overhead
to get a better perspective.
A man in plaid at an opposite
booth thinks you’re staring at him.
But you’re thinking the water
in your glass is warm,
not the oceany blue
you expect from a five-star diner.
You want to ask him for
his turquoise ring. You want
to move to the desert with him.
The waitress is suspicious.
You see a scrap of paper with
words written on it, lift it
up as you would your hair.
It contains an awful
pronouncement. You hear
footsteps of the plaid man leaving.


Art by Evie Lovett

Ginny MacKenzie lives in New York and has had poems in Poetry Now, The Little Magazine, Pequod, and the Mississippi Review.

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