by Laura Cherry
commences at four-thirty because
old people like to eat early, or
so they’re told. Slowly they flock
to the same tables, no variations,
like white-haired middle-schoolers.
Susan, Patricia, Linda, Elizabeth,
and Janet have scored a window
where they can line up their walkers
and discuss whose children brought
groceries and magazines. Whose
have not come in a month, a year,
or ever. Whose jettisoned a lifetime
of books and a treasured apartment
for reasons unknown. Now Linda
spoons her clam chowder and says,
“If I eat these jigsaw pieces, how
will we ever do the puzzles?”
They draw a closer circle, lean in.
What can they savor that won’t be
snatched away? Where will they hide
whatever has been left to them?
Generations Pass Before Me
I’m standing here counting silly hats
in the uber-trendy French bakery
with the subway tile and bistro tables,
the hipster coffee and five-dollar croissants.
I’m counting blanket scarves and perfect eyebrows,
cropped jackets and distressed jeans,
high-waist pants and gold-zipper backpacks.
I’m counting messy buns and immaculate blowouts.
If I wait in this line much longer, I swear
I will manifest ropes of love beads, reveal
my furry feminist calves, start passing around
peace buttons and back issues of Mother Jones,
at least until my bra spontaneously combusts
and the barista gently escorts me from the premises.
Laura Cherry is the author of the collection Haunts (Cooper Dillon Books) and the chapbooks Two White Beds (Minerva Rising) and What We Planted (Providence Athenaeum). She co-edited the anthology Poem, Revised (Marion Street Press) with Robert Hartwell Fiske, and her work has been published in journals including Antiphon, Ekphrastic Review, Los Angeles Review, Cider Press Review, and DMQ Review. She earned an MFA from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. She works as a technical writer and lives near Boston with her son and their cats. Her website is http://lauracherrypoetry.com