Young Waitresses

by Steve Almond July 25, 2010

Like mothers, you bring warm food to our tables and we stare dumbly up, supposing we are more than paying customers. This is your art and vice, the racket of your charm, coy and high-assed and always reminding us of someone we miss, of some possibility alive in the moments when you want only to know what we want.

Chances are, youve got big things in mind for yourself—this small celebrity is only a weigh station, an arrangement, temporary, like the tendons that tent the moist skin inside your elbows, behind your knees, like the pleasant consent in your ponytail, the wet smile we associate with garlic bread.

You can feel that larger life coiled in each limb, and this makes the glare of the hot plates bearable, and makes you oblivious to our coarse hopes. These hopes swell within you, like the small muscles bunched along your flanks, like the kind words you print along the top of the bill, left atop the table, between the sugar and the dull blade.

Bless you all. Bless you as we coat our tongues in nourishment, our throats hung on ropes of want. Bless you for allowing us to eat from your hand, for never asking what comes next.

About the Author:

Steve Almond is the author of the story collections My Life in Heavy Metal and The Evil B.B. Chow, the novel Which Brings Me to You (with Julianna Baggott), and the non-fiction books Candyfreak and (Not That You Asked). His most recent book, Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life, came out in spring 2010. He is also, crazily, self-publishing books. This Wont Take But a Minute, Honey is composed of 30 very brief stories, and 30 very brief essays on the psychology and practice of writing. Letters from People Who Hate Me is just plumb crazy. Both are available at readings. In 2011, Lookout Press will publish his story collection God Bless America.

About the Artist:

Robinson Accola creates artwork for SmokeLong Quarterly as needed.