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Hurrying Sustenance

by Laura Weldon

Waiting to order
we speak of busy lives
nodding between quick sips
cool water unnoticed in our throats
as we examine the hourglass closed against us.
No extra grain of sand fits into
that feminine shape
although we long to sleep,
dream and wake refreshed.

Our bodies so yearn for sustenance
that reading the menu we moan.
Still, we order food described by
what has been removed
barely pausing rush-hour words.
Above us pots overfilled with flowers bloom
for just one season.

The next table fills with
those in golf shirts and khakis,
uniform of the vigorous old.
With them is a man bent and thin,
blinking in the sunshine.
When they toast his recovery
he barely raises his glass.
As others talk he sits
separate in his silence
ignoring the woman
who pats his arm.

From the open-beamed roof
a fledging bird careens into flight
flapping just above tables,
landing on the shoulder of the man
alone amongst his companions.
It perches a long heartbeat
observing shiny-eyed
before lifting upward on tiny wings.
There’s a scattering of applause.
A patio of strangers look
at this man as if they too have
lingered, savoring his breath.

Copyright © 2009 by Laura Weldon

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