he could read her like a two-bit cook

photo from nouvelles images
photo from nouvelles images

“Jack + Judy” by Doreen Fitzgerald, from Cake: Selected Poems. © The Ester Republic Press.

She was stuck on him like a three-cent stamp
on a postcard showing a roadside diner
shaped like a hat;
stuck like a stool on a chrome stem
waiting to swivel a customer,
or the naked thigh on a summer day
clinging to the vinyl seat.

He could read her like a two-bit cook
reads a scribbled order
jammed on a spike,
fluttering under the greasy fan;
like egg on a fork between the tines,
or a hot beef sandwich between the teeth.

Together, they’re waiting on the night,
halfway between Peoria and Baton Rouge,
where the word OPEN, in red block letters,
hangs under the words, EAT HERE,
spelled out in perfect blue.

[Is it weird that I find the second stanza, particularly the first four lines of it, terribly romantic? I always waffle between posting this poem or not, unsure if it aligns with my feminist views…

But I like it. So there.]