[For Kari Jeppesen] –

Johnny Cash on the Jukebox –
Walk the Line.
In a truck stop with bloodshot eyes,
and all-night drivers,
and builders in blue jeans with arms as thick as legs,
and travelling salesmen,
in cheap suits and frozen faces.
I wait for Mary, pristine in her pinstripe pinafore,
red and white stripes, ironed down the seam.
And on a menu on a chalkboard –
white chalk, blue chalk shadows,
powder on the floor:
Meatloaf, fries, and a doorstop of white.
Spicy sausages with mash,
and a doorstop of white – with peas.
And the best seller:
Bill Bradley’s Big Blue Cheese Burger,
with fries, and a cob of corn.
Mary arrives
smiling through two layers of makeup,
and tarantula leg eyelashes.
She has a beauty spot
dotted on a plucked mole, and a stud
with a turquoise gem; an adolescent senior.
Soft rouge Mary
with her cheap mortgage and no easy exit clause,
her man a distant memory,
in some East End dive with pool friends
and no money except for booze and fags
and pork snacks in a bowl with a Geisha on it.
Mary, a beautiful woman, forty years back
now a retired Greek goddess
with the warmest heart, and the widest smile.
My father never did appreciate her.