The road scrawls alongside the Steak House
like the mark from a number two pencil—
its thin, graphite line follows the rise and fall of the sand hills.

It is noon.
The sun beats down on the pavement making
it shimmer as if things were swimming beneath the opalescent top.
I stand gazing out the window at the road
and the grasses swaying with the westerly wind.
It always blows from the west out here in hill country.
The rolling hills and fields of grains undulate
with a force, sometimes soft, more often strong,
like a force that bends grown trees over and to the ground
creating new, humbled forms.

It is five past noon
and the wind continues to blow, still easterly.
I ease to the second window and look to see if
any vehicles might be coming down that thin
line of road, but there is nothing.
No buildings.
No trees.
No cars or trucks.
No buses traveling the pencil line
of blacktop toward us.
We are alone.

It is twelve ten and we are alone.
There are no birds in the cloudless sky;
there is no boy on my horizon;
no friends either to help rescue
the trepidation in my heart.
I get a dishcloth and water pail,
then wipe down each table in the restaurant.
I wipe each salt and pepper shaker, each sugar
container and napkin holder, rinsing the cloth
as I go. I use a dry dishtowel to shine the metal
napkin holders, placing each just so
along with the other accoutrements on each table.
Finally, I wipe the booth seats and return to the kitchen
to empty the water.

It is twelve thirty.
We are still alone.
He strolls to the first booth, deck of cards in hand
and sits. He shakes out a cigarette and lights it
with the metal lighter from his pocket. Both
cigarettes and lighter are stacked one on top
of the other on the table.
Then he begins dealing
out the cards for solitaire.

Want to play a round?” his crocodile mouth smiles.