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Bob Bradshaw

Breakfast Troubles

In Hong Kong there's a restaurant
where cages of songbirds
are hung along the eaves.
Old men arrive early
to read newspapers
and slowly sip their tea.
They lounge all morning
mimicking the voices
of the birds and folding
newspapers as neatly
as if they were origami.
No waiter rushes them
to leave. The carts
of dim sum roll

But here by the bay
where the restaurant's
as empty as a skating rink
at 2 a.m., the waiters
eye me as if I were a bum
lounging in a bus depot.
My table seems as valuable
as a front row seat
at a Lakers game.
They glance down their noses
at my cup of coffee
as they buzz around me,
constantly asking
"Would you like
to order

Bring me another round
of coffee, I smile back,
and their eyebrows
leap up.
"Would you care to order
some breakfast, sir?"
The waiter, a bit testy,
stands over me like a cop
over a fallen

Do you serve dim sum?
"Sir, this is not a Chinese
restaurant." Pity,
I say. Well, just keep
the coffee coming.
"Sir, there's a minimum
charge." Excellent,
I answer. A policy
like that keeps
the riffraff

Turkey Vultures

They're red faced and bald
and couples usually mate for life.

While one shops for supper
the other putters at home,
incubating the clutch.

They savor hearty meals. But like
any large family gathered
at a dinner table, they're not shy
voicing their opinions,

hissing at those
with rude table manners.

Like us, sociable but shy,
they make good lovers,
and live out contented lives,

indifferent or unaware of their less
than photogenic allure.

©2007 by Bob Bradshaw

Bob Bradshaw is a programmer living in Redwood City, California. He hopes to win the lottery soon and sail through life in a hammock. Recent and forthcoming work of his can be found at Eclectica, Blue Fifth Review, Mannequin Envy, Red River Review, Apple Valley Review, and Boston Literary Magazine.

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