Ellen Kombiyil
Denny's: a Confession

The dirt-brown carpet blooms in patches
of round tables, booths. A tired waitress
in support hose grips a coffee pot. The patrons

are either sleepy or loud and drunk. Years ago,
the boy who would so casually break my heart
serenaded me in an identical room.

The menu never changes. Above my head
a cardboard picture of a strawberry milkshake
perpetually swings in the breeze of an air vent,

and I have the sudden urge to steal something,
to remember, so I stuff the menu card
into my tote bag. Later it will remind me

how road and night converged, made separate
only by headlights and the white flashing line
white flashing line, like morse code

from some other realm, and how the suburbs
transfixed me, their open porches
dotted with miniature suns.

I will have traveled all night
in an approximate direction
only to one day hold a laminated card

that reads Moons Over My Hammy,
what promise in a name
and its impossible, syrupy picture.