Truth at the Delicatessen by Brian Yapko

Truth at the Delicatessen | Brian Yapko

An hour after I told them they tried 
to pretend everything was normal. 
We went to Canter’s, three bagels,
cream cheese, lox, apricot danish. 

Their grim faces stared into their 
coffees as if the future could be 
written in the pale swirls of cream or 
the sugar spilled from its envelope

which littered the table like grains 
of sand. Yes, the doctors were sure.
There were things they could do 
for the pain but not prolong… 

To their credit they held it together.
It was only when she came back 
from the ladies room that I saw how 
red her eyes were. The waitress 

came by. Carrie her name was. She
had worked there my whole life. 
She said it was a gorgeous day outside 
what could possibly make the three 

of us look so glum? They looked up 
at her stricken. Carrie’s nod was 
imperceptible. She put her hand on 
my shoulder — she could feel how 

bony it was.  I saw her look at me 
and know, just know. Before we got 
the check, she brought out strawberry
cheesecake – she remembered my

favorite. The staff gathered and sang 
happy birthday while my folks 
tried to not let me see their tears.
You see, it wasn’t my birthday. 


About the Author:

Brian Yapko is a lawyer whose poems have appeared  in  Prometheus Dreaming, Tofu Ink, K’in Literary Journal, Sparks of Calliope, Wingless Dreamer, KAIROS, Gyroscope, Cagibi, Penumbra, the Society of Classical Poets, Grand Little Things, Chained Muse, Abstract Elephant, Poetica and a number of other publications. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his husband, Jerry, and their canine child, Bianca.