Inside the Owl Cafe
Station 5

across the freeway, the Owl Cafe
an alluring bird of prey fading
sign proclaims best food on 101

--Coffee time, Lulu. It doesn't look very promising;
but, probably the best we can do for now. Maybe,
we'll be surprised. At least, we'll get warm.

inside, the shabby counter with its round red stools
waits empty of customers not even a card game
in the back room faithfull witness of the past

--Well, don't just stand there. Shake
the rain off and come on in. You're lettin'
all the heat escape. Sit down at the counter.

--Give us two coffees, cream and sugar.
Got any day olds? We haven't eaten
since this morning. Woatever you got's ok.

thick coffee amber-black in styrofoam cups
plastic cream and fake sweetener oil the surface
nevertheless a bargain of warmth at five-cent refills

--Came out here ten years ago this May. From Jersey City.
Me and hubby. Fell in love with the land.
Hubby hated it. He left. I stayed. Never regretted it.

--You're lucky. I thought I could leave and never
look back. Then, I catch a whiff of tortilla warming
on a gas burner and I'm back walking East L. A.

--Walk down the road 'bout a quarter mile to the
mailboxes. Might be a long wait. Not much traffic
this time of night. You'll stay dry under the trees.

trees climb the ridge stand against the dark sky
towering touching reaching upward
wind whips the clouds into thick black foam

Outside the Owl Cafe-station 6
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