Day 6: Resting Near the River

Resting Near the River

What if Hades’ waiting room
were a McDonald’s
at 9:30am
on a weekday?

With white collar and working class
having already reported to work,

leaving only retirees
regrouping transients
and the unhurried condemned,

resigned to inevitable fate,
hastened by McGrizzled breakfasts
of dubious origin.

Youthful anachronisms
among innumerable ancient ones
include a young Asian couple

finishing their coffees and mutual flirtations,
as hand in hand, they exit the side-door,
crossing the parking lot towards the river Styx.

An even younger mother
is herding a set of toddler-twins,
awakened earlier than they prefer

as they now crankily demand
identical sausage patties
and cheap toys destined for landfills.

What if life is as
bland and purposeless as the
hashbrown I just ate?

One common element of McHades –
aside from the young lovers – it seems that
none here seems pleased with their present
or eager to embrace their futures;

it is a collective rumination,
a group-think procrastination.

What if none of this matters?

But each of us must face what comes next,
and one by one, we do,
slipping through the side-door,

first the flirting couple,
next the mother of sleepy twins,

with the countless octogenarians
each taking as much time as they wish
in gathering their past achievements
and unspoken unfilled ambitions.

What if it’s all just a game,
and I’ve been chasing the wrong things?

My phone vibrates, warning me
that I must soon return to my role
supporting the white-collar,
working-class worlds.

I finish my Sausage McBluffen with Egg
and exit through the side-door. The river

seems much closer these days, but still
I still have a ways to go.
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 6 prompt: write a poem that emphasizes the power of “if”.

2 thoughts on “Day 6: Resting Near the River

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