Thoughts While Eating Breakfast at the Waffle House in North Carolina

I’m starting to use words

like sweetheart and


and the woman at the counter

puts some scrambled eggs in front

of me, calls me sweetie

The workers stack the Texas

toast, scoop the grits

scribble down orders and

take our dirty plates

I sit and sip and

scribble in a notepad and

think of back home–San Francisco

I think of Mr. Chandler, my

homeroom teacher who’d tell us

tales that many didn’t understand

Tales of men who ate

steel, bit into iron as if it

were an onion or hunk of black

rye bread

For real? we’d ask

Mr. Chandler

And he’d roll his eyes

look at us and say,

“No, for fake”

And we all graduated (Some)

and got into a world of fake

flowers searching for the

real ones

But one thing is real, as I scribble

amidst the frying and clinking of


These workers stacking the

plates, scooping the grits, tossing

the eggs on the porcelain as if it

were the sun itself

“Drop 2 hashbrowns, Texas Toast

and an extra order of sausage!”

These workers,

real flowers

(c) 2023 Tony Robles






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