sometimes
a waitress has the power
to break your heart
with her kindness

this morning
there is an 80-year-old
bringing me coffee
with the same watch yourself it’s hot care
a grandmother would

one of her legs is longer than the other
she has a special lifted shoe
and walks with a limp

i see lines deepen around her eyes
with every step
she is in pain
and has sons who don’t call

she makes me want to sit her down
and wait on her

ask her lilting southern voice
where she was
when we killed martin and each kennedy

after my bagel disappeared
i left her a twenty on the table
though i can’t afford to

pondering that no one deserves this at age 80

the word expatriate
forms a bitter lump in my throat

settling up at the cashier stand
i tell the flippant manager
with the microphone
strapped all dip-shitted to his head
of the excellent service i received

she comes from the back as fast as her
feet are willing waving the currency

saying urgently
ma’am,
did you mean to leave this?

my mouth responds through a smile
if i could
it would be a thousand more

she is beautiful when she’s speechless