Mercury Diner

She sits over coffee until it goes cold
and I dump it and pour new.
I get her to take a bowl of soup

sometimes, which may be all she eats.
She doesn’t look bad, considering.
She can’t hear much. Sometimes

she writes to a daughter out West,
but mostly she’s deep in a book
or staring through the plate glass.

Once I asked if someone was
joining her. She looked startled,
like I’d slipped back into Greek.

Then she laughed. It’s our river
she said, pointing out. We watch
traffic. I didn’t get the joke, but

after that she smiled at me like
I was in on her secret. Sometimes
after the rush, she closes her eyes;

and I keep our loud busboy
from waking her. I let her
listen to trucks rumbling past.

Michael Lauchlan

Michael Lauchlan’s poems have landed in many publications, including New England Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The North American Review, Harpur Palate, and Poetry Ireland. His most recent collection is Trumbull Ave. from WSU Press.