Line Cook at the Back Door of the Cathay Restaurant

...Predictable Nights in Predictable Towns

Line Cook at the Back Door of the Cathay Restaurant

Line Cook at the Back Door of the Cathay Restaurant

He lights a small cigar

and stands atop the steel stairs

that fall in order like

successive levels of thought

to the lot below

where a lone car

begins its journey home.

From this plateau

he surveys the empty space

of asphalt – it’s patches of oil

reflecting light –

like sparks of eyes

in darkened rooms.

This, his refuge here

from the sweltering kitchen

where waitresses

slam plates and curse

cranky customers soaked

with coffee.

The light blue smoke

from his Cuban seed

lingers above his head

like a defective halo.

He’s cooked his family platters

for the day, consoled the girls

who spill a portion

of their tips his way;

comfortable on this

predictable night,

in this unvarying town,

where the restaurant’s shadow

spreads across the parking lot

like forgiveness

covering sins.

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Michael Ugulini

Michael Ugulini is a writer specializing in short and feature-length business articles. He ghostwrites a daily U.S. stock newsletter. He also writes poetry. His interests include economics, literature, music, piano study & baseball.

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