I didn’t hang out here when I was a teenager
I had my own diner. You were my husband’s hangout.
You were where he loosened lids on salt and sugar
and did far, far worse things to the mustard.
But when we’re in town we like to go to a real diner
And you are a Real Diner.
The decor hasn’t changed since you were built over 45 years ago.
The tilting stools at the counter make me feel old, or young.
You have a carousel of desserts by the cash register.
But do they ever serve dessert out of it?
I haven’t seen it. As far as I know they come from the kitchen
or under the counter in some strange and small dessert-storage space.
The white blanket providing ambience under the dusty plastic Christmas tree
was crocheted by someone’s hand
Maybe the owner’s wife, or mother, or grandmother.
And everyone knows a real diner is Greek
so next to the boring American fare (anything you want, any time)
You serve souvlaki, gyros, moussaka, and cold tzatziki sauce.
The Smokeeter looms over the counter even though
no one’s lit up in here for a decade.
The sounds of Journey, Elvis, Bell Biv Devoe, or Etta James
call to us from the jukebox on our table.
You call a soft roll a hard roll, but I know what you’re talking about
and that the roll is actually soft. And that it’s round like a Kaiser,
not elongated like a Portuguese roll.
My husband ponders how we all know this to be true.
And the waitress, who looks as if she’s spent her whole life here
Asks me “Hello-you-wana-coffee?” in that real old-world Italian accent
that I miss so much, living out in the sticks where
what is left of the old world is fading.
*Poetic license. I know it’s not a real ode.