up the back
and not quite hidden by the menu
his voice is an idling engine

until he orders again, broken crockery for lips
as he grinds the words out
for the girl at the counter

who’s waiting for a tip
with miniature scarecrows for hair
and an expressionless distaste

that rattles mugs, catches in the fan
and falls across us
with the feathery touch of a sigh.