I shared a beer and sympathy with a gnarled, obsolete man
Whose wizened visage spoke of unwise choices.
He spoke wistfully (though apropos of nothing) of an abandoned diner
Near the terminus of a truncated and decommissioned road,
Its parking lot an unhappy armistice of cracked tarmac and scrub grasses,
The building still sporting caricatures of the proprietors
(The artist a devotee of the Bob’s Big Boy school),
Though time had robbed them of the odd eyeball,
And a shoulder or elbow had faded surreptitiously into the background.
Much of a large sign remained as well, appearing to be nothing less
Than some leviathan’s abandoned crossword puzzle,
Fairly shouting “THE B ST STE K BETW N SYR C SE AND OT T WA
OR Y UR MON Y B CK!” Nothing else remained, my companion intimated,
Save the odd abandoned farmhouse and vestigial fields,
With long unmended barbed-wire fences doing their level best
To contain the ghosts of bygone and unmourned cows.