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