It used to be a nice place
Somehow, without anyone noticing
It became a soap opera with a good wine list.
Double shifting due to the new kid
double fisting at the bar after his first paycheck,
My aching feet and complaining knees support an
invisible willingness to clear plates and fill
water glasses with a smile.
In the few quiet moments while
they chew, sip, and nod I lean
against the oak bar and observe
eyes bounce from table to table like errant
ping pong balls.
Some put on their church clothes
Spend too much on food they can’t pronounce and don’t appreciate,
trying to convince themselves they aren’t Ralph and Alice.
But they are. Even quality tailoring
can’t hide that.
Some travel in packs, teeth glistening
armoured in tafeta, rousching, designer denim, and satin pumps
convinced they are doing battle with someone other than themselves.
They arrive as warriors, and
go home slaves.
Table, booth, or bar
it makes no difference.
Everyone that walks through the door
feels like a movie star because
it’s our job to make them feel that way.
When the chairs are up, the floors
glisten with mop streaks and the bleach
in the air stings my eyes.
I will go fetch Lisa the sous chef, from the kitchen.
Hand in hand, we catch the last train home
Our pockets fat with 15% of the dreams
the dreamers dreamed tonight.