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.