beyond the kitchen’s swinging door,

beyond the order wheel and the pass-through piled 

high with bacon, hash browns, biscuits and gravy,

 

past the radio, tuned to 101.5-FM

All Country - All the Time,

past the truckers overwhelming the counter,

all grab-ass and longing.

 

in the middle of morning rush you’ll 

catch her, in a wilted pink uniform,

coffee pot fused in her grip, staring over

the top of your head 

 

you’ll follow her gaze, out the fly-specked, plate 

glass windows, past the parking lot,  

 

watch as she eyes those 16-wheelers barreling 

down the highway, their mud guards 

adorned with chrome silhouettes of naked women

who look nothing like her.

 

the cruel sun throws her inertia in her face.

this is what regret looks like.

 

maybe she’s searching for that hot day in August 

when she first walked away from you.

 

there’s a choking sound

a semi makes, when it pulls off the

highway; that downshift a death rattle

she’s never gotten used to.

 

maybe she’s looking for a way back.

maybe she’s ready to come home.

 

(But for now) she’s lost herself

between the register and the door, the endless

business from table to kitchen, she’s

 

as much leftover as those sunny side eggs, 

yolks hardening on your plate.

 

©Alexis Rhone Fancher, 2016 First published in The San Pedro River Review