Tired shoes, worn soles
and laces that hang like wilted lettuce —
Connie stares at the clock melting on the wall.
When her shift is over at Ray’s Diner,
the walk home will offer a moon’s view.
For now, the till slams closed
like a cymbal’s crash,
and the saltshaker bottles
still need a new layer of rice.
Once a week Connie exists
in the heaven of pottery class.
Heart and mind tell her hands what to do —
no Jimmy, the short-order cook, barking.
A new apron would change it all.
One with tiny roses would make her feel
like a garden queen,
instead of a linoleum counter slave.
If rust fingerprints stain it from sculpting clay,
all the better —
a sign of her creative labor.
Connie looks down and sighs
at her ketchup encrusted, blue polyester blouse.
“Hey, a customer at table nine is asking for his check,”
yells her boss, Louie.
With confident strides,
Connie walks out the front door
for the last time.
A new apron will change everything.
© by Cristina M. R. Norcross.
Used with the author’s permission.