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Kimberly L. Wright

Michael's Midtown Cafe, Mobile


Michael's Midtown Cafe, Mobile

Preteen school nights sometimes found me
in a store room as wide as I was tall
half-forgotten among boxes, restaurant clatter
and chatter seeping in at my makeshift desk, where
I wrote marine biology answers while shark en papel,

oysters Rockefeller, Caesar salad with anchovy airs,
crème brulee, Rolling Rock streamed
out of the kitchen and disappeared,
returning as oil-blotted paper on heavy white plates,
middens of vacant shells shipwrecked on beds of rock salt
little tubs with singed brown sugar barnacles,

emerald messages in bottles sealed with smeared lipstick kisses
as Jim Morrison crooned "Don't You Love Her Madly,"
and Mom wrenched White Zin bottles open with a pop,
adrift in restaurant smell, so many food aromas congealed,

swimming Andouille grease, dirt, crumbs, madness,
baked by the hot steam of the dishwasher,
linen and institutional cleaner, I brought it
home with me, it hitchhiked on my clothes

infiltrated my DNA so that a random Doors
song on the radio unlocks the code, reanimates it
bubbling on the current of memory, iridescent jellyfish
glowing in the murk of 20 years later, long after
that repurposed gas station and I
regenerated again.

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Kimberly L. Wright’s work has appeared in The Southeast Review Online, Blood Lotus Journal, Dr. Hurley's Snake Oil Cure, El Locofoco, Arrowsmith, Doggerel and Dicat Libre among others. She has been a journalist for more than a decade and currently serves as a digital journalist in Montgomery, Ala.

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