PoetryIssue 23 | November 2015

Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m.

by Troy Cunio

This is what’s still beautiful about America—a breakfast
diner with blue plastic seats where they serve cold
powdered eggs and pancakes swimming in oily butter,
middle-aged waitresses calling you honey and pouring
grainy coffee the color of the backs of eyelids into your
cup faster than you can drink it. A table of innocently
bigoted graybeards holding their bacon-filled bellies,
laughing about fishing and bible studies. An elderly
couple motionless except when the man’s basset hound
eyebrows leap up at the sight of a server who knows him
by name. A pair of white (formerly blonde) haired
women having a polite verbal brawl over whose child has
been more of a disappointment. A young guy visibly
regretting taking a girl out at such an early hour.
Remnants of someone else’s syrup sticking your
forearms to the tablecloth, and you, alone and distant in
the corner booth with everything breaking down but
feeling okay, feeling just fine. In this diner all the
problems, from the immediate issues of a busted
carburetor and having no bed to sleep in to the more
general yet pressing matters of dwindling bank accounts,
fading friendships, unfound love, white guilt, and the
eventual heat death of the universe—it’s all somehow
sealed out, somehow negated for an hour by happy
people and the kind of food that will kill you faster than
cigarettes. And the sun’s coming steamy through the
window- you go to pay the bill, they undercharge you.
You make up the difference in the tip. There’s a bell
chiming as the door swings shut behind you.

About the author

Troy Cunio lives everywhere but usually in Orlando, Florida. He started to ramble as soon as he graduated high school. Since then, his travels have taken him to Panama City, Macchu Picchu and more sordid corners of Peru, as well as the Bahamas, the entire northern coast of Spain, Munich, Salzburg, and various places around the United States including remote parts of the Southwest and Southeast. The next major outing will take him to Belize, Mexico, the West Coast, and parts unknown for as long as his cash holds out. Cunio has had poems published in Strong Verse, and Sweet Wolverine. Read his collection, Inkstained Heartbeats or better still, book him for a reading.

Read our current issue:

Poetry

Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok