I don’t know his name
But just suppose it’s Mr. Rochester
Doesn’t hide his melancholy from the world.
I meet his appraising gaze
Over the cash register.
“Aren’t you going to seat me?”
His cane hits the counter.
I smile unnecessarily
For the brightness of my countenance is lost
On its wretched observer.
“Right away, sir.”
Normal seat at booth five
Where he has the restaurant under surveillance.
I help remove his sweater and tuck away his cane.
As if I have forgotten.
I flee his scathing presence but return
To serve the coffee.
“Where’s my cream and sugar?”
“In front of you, sir.” Then, “As always.”
I add the last
Not to spite him,
But to pacify my own irritation.
(I wrote this narrative free verse years ago while working at a restaurant. I stumbled across it the other day and started to laugh. I think there was more than one Mr. Rochester during my years in the restaurant industry!)