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Catching Up


The plastic menus with faint ketchup smears,

The water rings on wrinkled paper mats,

Wouldn't have bugged us then. But it's been years.

We wipe and talk.  Summed up, our lives are ruts

Disguised by cheer.  His lipsticked coffee mug

Must be replaced.  I struggle through a joke

He doesn't get, half-listen to him brag

About his car.  He offers me a smoke.

I say I quit.  Our burgers come.  We eat

Like restless kids who long to get away

From boring grown-up talk.  We have to wait

Five minutes for the check, and then we're free

To disappear from one another's view,

Wondering what we wanted to renew.


Jeff Holt



2000; originally printed in The Cumberland Poetry
.  Reprinted by permission of the author.

Background by Susan

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