Town & Country Café

A poem by Ben Groner III

Image: Crop Sea by Jessica King



Perusing the diner’s breakfast menu,
lazily tracing the yellow and turquoise
boomerangs on the gum pink counter,

I glanced up and spotted a table in
the corner, remembering all those
younger Thursday evenings with my

grandfather just as the waitress asked:
“What would you like, my dear?”

     ‘I’ll take the char-grilled chicken and
     collard greens, please,’ he’d say with
     a smile, removing his woolen tam

“I’ll take the char-grilled chicken
and collard greens, please, and—”
I peeked at my watch. 7:30 a.m.

“Oh, I’m sorry ma’am. I’d like two
scrambled eggs; corned beef hash
(extra crispy, please); a side of fruit;
and a bran muffin, sliced and grilled.”

     ‘What are collared greens, grandpa?’
     I asked once. ‘They’re a dressier kind
     of lettuce,’ he’d said with a chuckle

Conversation suffuses the crowded
café: all the laughing and rambling
and murmuring of words between
people who have known each other
a long, long time.



This work was featured in our fall/winter 2020 issue.

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