Back on the Road

Pointed north tomorrow morning. Starting early. Now confessing another vice: Waffle House.


Look for me in one somewhere along I-95, if you’re in the vicinity. Join me for weak coffee and a pecan waffle. Sit down next to the 65-year-old man at the counter of this Waffle House near Petersburg, Virginia, a regular maintaining a running, lively conversation with the 20-year-old fry cook across the divides of age and race, touching on more topics than you might guess. Speak to the family of three near whom I once dined: daddy, mommy, and infant, all of them camo-clothed from the tippy-tops of their heads to their booted and bootied feet. Just for a while, revel in being someone’s “honey,” someone who will take your order and then bark it out to the cook as if your very life depended on it.




Double Vision

By Wilmer Mills


At Waffle House, they fired her on the spot:
“You talk too much!”
She’d told her customers
That “made” gets “mad” and “poet” goes to “pot”
Without the letter e. The “amateurs,”
She’d said, “inherit everything: the sand,
The stars, the world that only God possesses.”


While washing dishes with a bleeding hand,
She’d told them, “through ‘possession’s’ double ‘esses’
There’s a line that cleaves; things come apart;
‘Refrain’ means both ‘hold back’ and ‘go again’;
Things join in wholes of which they are a part.”


She “touched” the people. Was it such a sin?
Her broken pencil left a double line
On my tab, both legible as one design.

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