Her mama said she was uppity.

IMG_1854A haibun for the dVerse prompt signs.

Wish it had been the R that fell, she thought. Then it would say DINE, like the food was good, like it was more than runny eggs and meatloaf. But it was the I, and everyone called it the DEE-ner, like some hillbilly joint. Jake said it gave the place character, didn’t even know where the I had blown to after all these years.

She hated waiting tables. Her mama said she was uppity. “Worst thing we did was name you Chelsea after that foreign place,” her mama said. “You get off your high horse and make peace with staying here.” But she never would. Never! She’d get a little money ahead and clear out. Go where Chelsea was an OK name, and DINE was what folks did, and tips were more than a quarter.

“You gonna stub that smoke and get back to work? I ain’t paying you to be on break all day.”

“When you gonna put the I back, Jake?”

“No time soon, Chelsea girl. No time soon.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

rocky soil, no rain
daisies distressed, withering
oak tree carries on.

– Sarah Russell
First published in Rusty Truck
Photo:  Etsy

Double Shift

The diner glows fluorescent at 2 a.m.


The diner glows fluorescent at 2 a.m.,
beckons boozers and truckers, runaways,
women between men.

Mary receives them
as her namesake received Gabriel,
pours coffee unbidden, tends
to coconut cream and lemon meringue,
eggs over easy, a malt for the guy
with stringy hair, jittery for a fix.

She saves her tips in a pickle jar
under the grill — enough, she hopes,
to post 50 bucks for her old man’s bail
come morning.

Sarah Russell
First published in Kentucky Review
Photo:  Diners, Delis & Dives

Open Mic night at dVerse.  Come join the fun.