The punch was all fruit juice and 7up
but they still stagger in giddy,
fiddling with big bow ties and peach prom dresses
thrilled by the rare foray into the undecipherable crossword
The confusion is muffled tonight by pure excitement,
the joy of a meal so different than the daily plate:
bacon and eggs and grits in the late late night
where a burger or chicken breast or bag of Cheetos normally sits.
How fun it was
getting pretty, hair fixed up high, sprayed till it was hard
smelling like flowers
the nurses pushing corsage pins instead of syringes.
Goofing around in the beat up booth as smooth as seal skin
a girl in her twenties with a moustache
knocks her chocolate milk all over her purple chiffon
and she cries deeply
as a baby whose mother can’t go to her.
One of the caretakers walks her to the bathroom
holding her hand and stoking her hair.
They were so wound up
they barely touched their food
three stacks of pancakes all wearing m & m smiles which melt
at the lips and eyes
and a tuxedo jacket that used to belong to someone’s father.
The old man eating alone in the corner
looks up from his racing forum and
notices two balloons rolling under the empty table
and remembers when his children were babies.
He’s trying to recall whether it was the father or the son
the laughing or crying
that won out in the end.