My coffee tastes burnt, bitter, like old diner coffee, even though I made it myself only a half-hour ago. It would be tolerable if I was actually drinking it in an old diner. The kind with ripped vinyl booths and tarnished chrome bar stools. A waitress named Marge who chews gum and has a pencil stuck behind one ear. That corner table with that same old guy who’s there whether I come in at 7 a.m. or noon or midnight. That all-night diner where I sit at a table alone and listen to other people’s conversations...local gossip, who’s screwing whom, how ugly the preacher’s baby is, stuff like that. Mundane really. The stuff on which poetry is built. But there is no poetry in my burnt coffee this morning and the diner is empty and the old man? He died yesterday.
putting on lipstick
just to leave a stain
—Republished here with author’s permission from Haiku in the time
of COVID-19 (Facebook: 7 April 2020)
is an author, editor, and haiku poet who lives on the road, with her husband and dog, in a home on wheels. She is on the Board of Directors of The Haiku Foundation and served as their Secretary. She is past Southeast Regional Coordinator for The Haiku Society of America and former editor of Prune Juice Journal of senryu and kyoka. Terri served as an editor of the online journal Haibun Today and recently joined the editorial team of Contemporary Haibun Online.
Author’s website: www.terrilfrench.com