In the tepid space of a
stifling diner, she holds her
cigarette aloft,
coils of smoke

absently curling like burnt
altar offerings through
strands of gray hair,
ashen afterthoughts. 

She mutters about the
cold coffee, cold chicken,
and too-hot temperature.  Later,
she leaves three shining quarters

and most of her meal
on the plastic-covered table,
incandescent beneath
yellow lights.

Outside, Spring brings the usual
flowers and hope 
she will walk through it,
unnoticed, remembering a

time when service was better
and her hair spilled down her
back, red and mutable like
a wax seal.  

Tarfia Faizullah
TARFIA FAIZULLAH graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May of 2003 with a B.A. in Honors Liberal Arts and minors in English and Italian.  She has been published in the Analecta literary magazine and the Common Lamppost literary magazine, both from the University of Texas at Austin. She hopes to eventually attend graduate school to receive a M.F.A and law school to receive to a J.D.  She loves the sounds of leaves and gravel beneath feet, parasols, and japanese lanterns. 
The Adirondack Review