Rebecca Schumejda

Nighthawks at the Diner
With Respect to Tom Waits

I’ve served eggs just the way you like them
sausage and chili in a bowl, hamburgers
and fries, and a buttered roll to women
who were men, who only wanted coitus
at 2am in a diner near a thruway exit just
to make rent. I told a toothless man,
who was always a man without a woman,
without lipstick, just yolk applied thicker
than the grim on the kitchen floor,
that someone would take him home someday
after he used his fork to lift my skirt.
Hopper wouldn’t paint this scene portraying
long-winged American goatsuckers tapping
anxiously at their empty coffee mugs.
Everyone wants desperately on late night shifts.
I want you to know I never ate sausage or eggs
in the walk-in, no matter how many times
I was asked by a man who wanted to be a man
or a woman who wanted to be a man or
a man who was a woman. But once startled,
I dropped a lit joint into a vat of pickled eggs
and always wondered If anyone ever found it.

Rebecca Schumejda is the author of Waiting at the Dead End Diner (Bottom Dog Press, 2014), Cadillac Men (NYQ Books, 2012), Falling Forward, (sunnyoutside, 2009); and several chapbooks. She received her MA in Poetics and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.

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