A Poem for Tucker’s (Since 1946)

fullsizerender-47Since 1946

The old grease smell is gone
vanished in the fires
that soaked up the money
and the fat.

A new vent shines
reflecting in its hood
eggs scrambling to their fate
and goetta gone griddle flat.

You know, Mom
would still be here
back peelin’ the potatoes
if I let her, he tells us.

Joe is grill guy, owner,
holder together.

At 10 a.m.
we are the end
of the morning’s rush
soon the grill will turn to lunch
and so will customer’s pangs

but for now,
we wait and salivate.

You folks been here before? he asks.
Everyone knows the “before” story
no one need finish the line.

Made the biscuits myself, he goes on.
And they are light and fluffy
offering this side of Vine –
shaded by morning sun –
a buttery cloud in which to dream.

He wants to go on
but Carla is telling him
how many
pounds of potatoes
they peeled through yesterday.

A crowd of couriers
on bikes enters and interrupts
the slow flow of the moment

then one electric pole worker
plops on a stool
he’s from the neighborhood
we can tell
because Joe knows his name.
But Joe greets every customer
with the same welcoming call
and in truth,
based on his past,

he may never know
when one will be
a first-time customer
or his last.

AJW 10/12/16



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