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Fein, Richard, 1944- / The required accompanying cover letter: poetry
(2011)

Still life,   p. 42


Page 42

Still Life
... a person in a diner staring at a mirror at 1:03 a.m.,
in a booth among other booths,
all booths claustrophobic rectangular enclosures
in two columns skirting the center aisle
running the length of the greasy spoon-
and all the booths are empty
except for the ones sitting alone, each clutching a cup of coffee,
all of them taking in the lukewarm coffee, sip by sip,
except that singular, first person in a booth among other booths,
and that booth is empty except for that one
whose untouched, unsipped coffee surely must be cold,
and that person's arms are soft pillows for a slumping head
with a hand open and a now motionless pen at the fingertips
and a notebook open to a page pristine white-
except for standard, parallel, blue lines intersecting
an equally standard, red margin line running vertically down the left
with no other markings on the almost pristine white
except the word, "Title," scribbled to the right of the red margin
with nothing to the left of that line, the page empty
except upon it that word Title and the slumping person's head,
and nothing above that Title and slumping person's head
except the ceiling lights and creaking fan,
while below arms still cradle a slumping head,
with eyes that are not yet closed, but closing,
and through fluttering eyelids the bloodshot eyes
gaze at a wall mirror which reveals nothing except
a person in a diner staring at a mirror at 1:04 a.m.,
in a booth among other booths ...
42


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