"Winter Term"

by Jeph Johnson


it is early morning
December 26
still Christmas day
by Denny's standards
(for they still pass out
the holiday menu)
I order oatmeal, nonetheless...
a pretty girl with a headache
sits down with her book
"Our Sexuality"
and begins to study
for a test she failed
before vacation.
it's a used book-
I can see the sticker on the spine
the bright lights
in the corner
irritate her so I
walk over
and gently
loosen the hot bulb.
her eyes strain
to read in the darkness
but she is soothed, nonetheless...
Maria, the manager, is not amused
"Why is the light off at table eleven?"
I scramble out of nowhere
to offer an excuse
but instead decide to go
screw it back in
the pretty girl's head
begins to pound again
but I may have prevented
legal litigation
for had a shard of shattered
glass sent shrapnel
into a holiday meal
who knows what would be?
some guy from school sits
down with her and
she smiles as he shows
her some pictures
I order another oatmeal
assuming he's brought relief
now she'll pass her test,
despite her book being tucked away

Author's Notes/Comments: 


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