Angels in a Restaurant

An elderly man and woman sit in a restaurant;
the woman focuses on a plate of meatloaf and gravy
oozing over a mountain of mashed potatoes,
the man gazes at the ceiling, a fork in hand
gesturing as if forming images in the air.

If you peer into his thick-lens glasses,
do you fear being infected by the loneliness behind his moist eyes?

Can you recall when you last kissed his parched lips?

Do you remember her arthritic fingers clasping your trembling hand
as you stood next to your mother’s breathless body?

When did you cease listening to her monologue of swollen ankles,
aching joints, her dearest friend listed in the morning obituaries?

Can you remember when you last touched her taut face?

When was the last time you said you loved one another?

What unspoken grief imprisons you in adjoining cells?

Look up. See the face of the angel sitting across from you.

After closing his practice of 35 years in 2011 as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and with the publication of his first collection of poems, “A Heart on Fire, Poems from the Flames,” in 2014, David C. Weiss has been devoted to writing poetry and leading workshops for new poets. He is on the faculty of OLLI College at the University of Southern Maine and a visiting instructor of poetry at Sera Jhy Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in South India. David plays the “shakuhachi,” a Japanese end-blown bamboo flute used by monks of the “Fuke” school of Zen Buddhism in the practice of “suizen” (blowing meditation). He earned his Master of Theology and Ph.D. in Pastoral Psychology degrees from Boston University. You can follow David on his website.

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