I was a mess
by the time Tuesday came.
I rationalised our meeting
back and forth
like a ping-pong ball,
but it didn’t make the butterflies
any less nervous.

I got there early.
Better to watch you approach
than to have your eyes on me.
You were
twenty minutes late.
SOME things in life are constant,
I thought,
apprehensively munching a second breadstick,
then chastised myself for being negative.
Time has been good to you.
Injustice, I thought,
then chastised myself again
as I pulled in my paunch and smiled.

You ordered a bottle of Terlato.
Midrange, I thought.
Let’s not over-invest.
As we raised our glasses
and you said something sentimental,
I offered myself no rebuke
and drank deep.
Far cry from my “Two Buck Chuck,”
I reasoned,
gazing lovingly at the crystal.

You had the Veal Piccata
(So what is new?)
and I had the Chicken Melanzana,
(even though I hate eggplant)
which was actually quite delicious.
I finished every crumb
while you left half your entrée
on your plate.
There are kids starving in China,
my mom’s voice echoed inside my skull.

As you said no, thank you to dessert
and asked the waiter for the bill,
I brought out my phone to google
“kids starving in China.”
I saw that look on your face.

You took out your Diner’s Club Card
and said
I’ll get the wine.
So . . . if you give me twenty-five dollars
that should cover it.

You said it was good to see me.
You said you had to be going.
You told me to take care of myself
and see you again sometime
as you hurried from the restaurant.

I stayed in my seat,
poured myself the last glass of pinot grigio
and read that twenty-five percent
of adults in China
are obese.
Then I ordered
Tiramisu and coffee.

PAD 25 in November

For today’s prompt, write a meal poem.