The Markthalle at Midday

by Grant Morgan

The horizon of the service girl,

 

with her waist pressed against the unoccupied Bar,

 

is cast by the line of people shuffling toward the food counter

 

Beneath the autumnal conversation and soft steps

 

a song plays.

 

It plays in unison in every daylight bar

 

i’ve ever sat in.

 

A song to which nobody drinks or touches one another.

 

The service girl is tired from rest.

 

She turns away from the counter, to which nobody comes

 

and the continuous line of people,

 

to wipe down liqour bottles on the shelf behind.

 

She takes down each bottle by the neck

 

unhurriedly

 

to occupy her hands for the longest time possible.

 

Still, she watches her horizon

 

in the Bar’s grand mirror.

 

She thinks about ‘when they’re going to fix

 

the cracked blue and grey floor tiles’

 

that remind her so much of Malta

 

though she has never been there.

 

Then she thinks about meeting someone.

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