on denny’s

by G. J. Sanford


it’s almost ghastly—
that sign. yellow as a wasp’s back.  

still it lures more like a fat peach,
red letters implying ripeness.

the restaurant’s doors are a vision in cool glass
and open almost too easily, a portal like no other

to a dimension not often understood:
here the linoleum dim, and the register.

bathrooms ahead and to the left.
restaurant floor to the right.

all a mumbling of earth
tones; the booths, chairs, tables,

fixtures dressed in false
paneling, even the mood

lighting itself a queer sepia shade;
somehow every face is visible.

we are shown our seats. we—
as everyone must—say a prayer.


. . .from dennis    via the french denis    ultimately
from the greek    dionysios    god of wine and revelry

it could be true    we might sense him there
behind the kitchen window

watch him flip fat stacks
fry the bacon

he’d hope we’d’ve brought the wine ourselves
bc times are tough for a god

let’s say he wears sausage links as laurel leaves
and snoozes in the kitchen at noon

say he guzzles syrup in the middle hours
between dinner and late nite

when the clientele is at its strangest
and drunken conversations stir ancient blood

with their immediacy    it should be so easy
to conjure a hedonist’s garden

especially in a place like this    only meals
the whole week for some    for others

the only warm bathroom for miles
so near the on ramp    a candle on the dais

G. J. Sanford is a queer poet and writer birthed and corrupted in Nevada’s high desert. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals and magazines such as Waxwing, Ninth Letter, Poet Lore, Frontier Poetry, december, Salt Hill, and others. They are, with writer Logan Seidl, co-editor of the Vitni Review.


Photography by: The Humantra