The diner’s lurked at the corner since 1937;

hasn’t been made-over

since ‘54


Fluorescent signs behind the counter burned

out back in ‘64; grilled cheese

costs two bits, pie’s ten cents.


Only one lightbulb still burns inside,

making the owner’s bald spot

shine like the floors he’s waxing.


At midnight, he shuts down, folds himself

into bed somewhere upstairs,

sheets lined with cedar against moths.


And down the street, by the locksmith’s shop,

a pop machine hunkers, waiting

to be fed quarters.


Five flavors and a Mystery Slot!

With change left from the diner,

teens feed the machine—take a chance.


It dispenses Shasta, old blue can;

Tab to another, things they’ve

never seen, outside retro shows.


Laughing, feeling like hipsters, they leave,

Not seeing the light upstairs,

or the shadow that watches them.