Eat Up!

Opposite end of the price scale from the restaurant described the other day, but just as colorful.

City Dining

Customers pressed snout to jowl,
elbows knock against each other.
Personal space narrows
to the person, as those waiting
for their orders wedge between strangers
shoveling in mashed potatoes,
sweet corn and fried half chickens.
Bones pile on oval side plates.
Crumbs scatter across Formica.

A constant milling line
of new arrivals eyes the gorging horde,
waits for the paid check,
the rising of the sated,
their slow shuffle to the door
and the descent of the bus boy
gathering soiled plates,
glasses, utensils.
Table wiped with wet white cloth,
then drink orders
are taken once again.

The cinder block building
with opaque windows
protected by iron bars
never lacks for those
whose stomachs lead them there.

City Dining

Customers pressed snout to jowl,

elbows knock against each other.

Personal space narrows

to the person, as those waiting

for their orders wedge between strangers

shoveling in mashed potatoes,

sweet corn and fried half chickens.

Bones pile on oval side plates.

Crumbs scatter across Formica.

A constant milling line

of new arrivals eyes the gorging horde,

waits for the paid check,

the rising of the sated,

their slow shuffle to the door

and the descent of the bus boy

gathering soiled plates,

glasses, utensils.

Table wiped with wet white cloth,

then drink orders

are taken once again.

The cinder block building

with opaque windows

protected by iron bars

never lacks for those

whose stomachs lead them there.

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