On Stopping Late in the Afternoon for Steamed Dumplings
The restaurant is empty
except for the cooks and waiters.
One makes a pillow of linens
and sleeps, putting his feet up in a booth;
another folds paper tablecloths. Why
have I stopped to eat alone on this rainy
day? Why savor the wet meat of the
steamed dumpling? As I pick it up,
the waiter appraises me. Am I
one of those women who must stop
for treats along the way–am I that starved?
The white dough burns–much too hot–yet,
I stick it in my mouth, quickly,
as if to destroy the evidence.
The waiter still watches. Suddenly,
I am sad;
my little pleasure gone.
Copyright © Toi Derricotte