On lunch shifts my brains are in my pockets,
useless dryer lint, a handful of coins
that can’t pay bus fare or buy a Coke.
It’s loving the way she feeds him gazpacho,
daubs his chin clean with a linen napkin,
clears space between tables for his walker
so he can make his way to the bathroom.
With one of his elderly friends he drinks
cranberry juice, iced tea, ginger ale.
With his granddaughter it’s always wine
and he turns delirious with it,
lifts his head from his chest and smiles
at the wait staff, the managers, other guests
like he’s been touched by the hand of God.

Maybe he has because on these days
when I approach the table I can smell her hair,
and I swear it smells like peach pie,
her engagement ring a piece of hard candy,
and I know what those old clergymen
talk about when they claim to feel the Holy Spirit
breathe or move about their rooms, vestibules.
I can feel it, too. The Holy Spirit is a woman.
The Holy Spirit is a chicken salad sandwich,
no bun, that I serve her for lunch,
I can find it anywhere on these shifts
when she dines with her grandfather.
Even, most miraculously, in myself.

By Richard L. Gegick


Richard L. Gegick is from Trafford, PA. His poems and stories have appeared in Hot Metal Bridge, Burrow Press Review, Gulf Stream, Uppagus, and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He lives in Pittsburgh where he writes and waits tables for a living.

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