Rush hour, and the short order cook lobs breakfast sandwiches, silverfoil softballs, up and down the line. We stand until someone says, Yes? The next person behind breathes hungrily. The cashier’s hands never stop. He shouts: Where’s my double double? We help. We eliminate all verbs. The superfluous want, need, give they already know. Nothing’s left but stay or go, and a few things like bread. No one can stay long, not even the stolid man in blue-hooded sweats, head down, eating, his work boots powdered with cement dust like snow that never melts.
From The Dirt She Ate: Selected and New Poems by Minnie Bruce Pratt. Copyright © 2003 by Minnie Bruce Pratt. Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press. All rights reserved.