Poem: Refugee


You sip your coffee. It is rich and almost bitter.
Darius Rucker wails on the stereo.
The aroma of onions and bacon fill the air.
You write.

Winter hours at the diner.
a few days a week. That is all.
Not enough to feel home each morning,
but a man takes what he can get.

You sit in the corner,
surrounded by your own art.
more of it in fact, that in your own home.
The radiators run under the bench where you sit
and you are winter warm.

You are comfortable here,
and comfortable is not something you feel often.
Seven years of breakfasts in this corner.
Five owners in that time, come and gone.
This one seems to have staying power.
You hope so. The food is good, So is the music.

What is it here? You have spent a lifetime in diners
across America, cafes in Europe, trashy and fine,
the whole gamut. Why here?
How is it that this place seeps into your soul
and becomes your home when others are just waystations?

Your mind’s eye spreads wider
and you wonder at where you are in life,
in this small corner of New England,
a place foreign to southerners like yourself,
a life foreign to a suburban city dweller like yourself.
Could it be that you lived in a foreign land
all your life,
and only in the stumbling here,
found home.

You laugh out loud, and for a minute
the cook stops and looks at you before returning to the grill.
You laugh, because this is always the way of it
for you. Your life has been a stumbling,
mostly into the best things, even at your worst,
you land, cat-like, on your feet,
plans for naught, something to fill your time
what real life plays out its gifts.

Another cup of coffee.
Another song. Tom Petty. “Refugee”.
Appropriate, you say to yourself.
Like the coffee,
dark, rich, slightly bitter, and perfect.

About this poem

My favorite diner really is down to winter hours. Three days a week. I miss it a lot.

I really do feel like I have stumbled into the best things in my life. And the plans have been what I do in the meanwhile. God is good.

Obviously I did not take the picture of Tom Petty. I wish I knew who to give credit to, but I don’t.

Enjoy life with all its twists and turns. Even the dark ones that make the bright ones more precious.


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