Best of the Net 2018  


My mother, the young
immigrant, worked for minimum
wage at Denny's, serving thin
coffee to men in blue denim.
My mother, sixteen, nimble
in the dim hours of dawn,
drowns brown mugs in a sink
of suds, dreaming, every
minute, of escape. Inside
the diner, men ask her name,
stack dimes on the counter,
and dine on cheap steaks
dipped in runny eggs. Men
are imminent
, she tells me
when I leave the house
in a denim skirt. A fringe
of nimbus clouds hovers
outside. Don't say
I didn't warn you
she adds, and, Lie
when they ask you
your name.

- Christine Kitano (from Portland Review)