Revolutionary zeal

At six, I clock on for my shift
at the Lemon Sole in Santa Monica.

He’ll have the kid’s crispy basket,
I’ll have a burger. Medium rare.

Sorry, Sir (in the US you have to call
them that) this is a fish restaurant.

He looks up from the heavy tome
he’s reading. Burger medium rare.

Sorry, Sir. Another round
of this and I’m sweating.

This is Tom Hayden. My hero
from the 60s. Up the workers.

His son grandiloquently draws
with crayons on placemats.

The busboy dispatched, whispers
in my shell-like he can have the burger.

Seems everyone but me knows this
‘cause he’s a star (or hitched to one).

I too read books, am not to this manner born
and tonight we are one waitress down.

I am doing my best but the requested
drinks arrive late and next thing I know

Tom summons the owner, and I’m fired,
though not with revolutionary zeal.



Joan Byrne

Santa Monica, California, 1978

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