Lunchtime at the Hawkridge Café

Lunchtime at the Hawkridge Café

Earl licks the powdered sugar

around his cuticles

like salt from a margarita.

The white dust floats

from his lips and beard,

the eider-down of sweeteners.

Pouring his second cup, a waitress

awards him false eyelash winks that

remind him of noble

caterpillars crawling on

tomato vines heavy with fruit.

He breathes in a sip, the rising

steam joins with the milk,

and he

watches

his life swirl by—

mess tents near

army barracks and

young Texas women

tasting of calla lilies

and cream. He blows

to cool down two

marriages and five

children, all buried by taxes

or dust,

and the vapor floats

above his cup and out

into the café.

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