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April 2018, vol 14 no 1

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Peter Newton

Lisa’s Diner

remains closed. Lisa the owner and sole cook had to have some sort of operation. I don’t know how it went or if she’ll reopen the place but I've been by twice now looking for a note or some other sign of life through her plate glass door with the giant cursive “L” on it. The door that she always propped open come spring with one of her enormous jade plants. A regular at the counter usually carried the oversized pot. Lisa loved jades. Stately little succulents that grew into behemoths. “They thrive on neglect,” she liked to say.

campfire secrets
a hint of wood smoke
in the soup

Her place said “Welcome” without her ever having to say much at all. She slap-tap-scraped across the griddle with the expert efficiency of a one-woman line cook. That mixed in with the devotion of a mother feeding her children as if sending them off to school or serving up hot soup on a rainy day. She must have made thousands of meals. Tens of thousands for the people of this small town.

the cedar waxwing's
yellow highlights

The jades are gone now. Of course they’re gone. It’s deep winter and Lisa always turned down the heat before heading out. This January’s been one for the record books as far as snow and cold go. Our narrow streets are barely plowed. They look like a scene from Siberia. We are all in exile. And the people are hungry.

waiting room
frosted glass between this world
and the next