For George

Remember that terrible waiter?
Confusing the drink orders
Delivering your bowl of soup
with his hands covered in Alfredo sauce...
or covered in something, in any case.
Even silly Emmy
who always ordered French toast for dinner
got a plate of Caesar salad.
You took one bite of yours and broke a tooth.
Remember how the restaurant had closed
our friends had dined and left
before we got our meals?
And you, unable to eat
with your fragile stomach
and freshly cracked enamel.

It seems so long ago.
We carry ourselves differently now
do not reach out the way we did.
Our hands no longer bump at the lip of the bread basket.
But taste your coffee.
Can you detect that hint of salt?
I'll yelp the words when our old friend returns
to spill a tray of icewater in my lap.

Happy anniversary.

(September 17, 2002)

© Katherine Maheux, 2003.