MESSAGE TO A WAITRESS’S DAUGHTER
It’s the way your leather-belted, straight from the hip body
skitters down the row of counter stools, past
boys’ hands hovering and old men longing
separated from other girls by skin and perception
that urges my lips, puckered at the point
of your mouth, to slide breathless up that unruffled
cheek to find your ear and cry
Overthrow those boys by zipless coup.
Shed the girls who hang from your hunter’s belt
like trophies. Dodge the traplines
old ones set into this land and nail their songs to the wall.
You are the shape-shifter
a myth buster, the break-my-heart-in-a-million-ways
grifter. Bring a flamethrower to the last supper
you eat at this diner.
Then just when the sky blackens beyond stars
turn your pockets inside out and shake the dust free. Don’t pause
to pack even one stone. Drop that compass
in the deepest well along the way.
You are my moon landing
my code-breaker, the Universe-is-expanding
oh Mama, can I ride a Star-raker.
A put ‘em in a vise and squeeze
till they ache-er, so Go
write poetry instead of letters home.
Master the traveler’s arts
and feed your own fire. Make love
from strong opinion.
Cast your precise shadow in this gloom
and tell time to pass on by- you will not carry it.
Author’s Comment: “Message to a Waitress’s Daughter” came out of the continuing conversation I have with myself about women’s lives and the choices made that get them to where they are. I find that as I get older, many of my heroes are women younger than I. None of them have asked for my advice. “Message…” is about recognizing a sister-traveler along the women’s road and urging her to journey on in pursuit of herself.
Bio: Barbara Gabriel is a poet, writer and salvage artist who has been gathering writing material for fifty years while impersonating a chef, cruise director, ice cream scooper, sailor, child advocate, landscaper, package designer, dive master, log cabin builder, and a really bad waitress. She grew up in Minnesota along Highway 61 and then ran away to sea to travel, live and eat her way through the Americas, Turkey, North Africa, Europe, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. She has been published in the online journal of topical poetry “Poetry24”, in the “American Society: What Poets See” anthology (FutureCycle Press) and in Wild Goose Poetry Review. She currently calls Portland, Oregon home.