an ekphrastic poem inspired by Edward Hopper’s painting “Nighthawks”
Not many people in Ted’s Diner, tonight.
Just four sitting around the food counter
under the harsh fluorescent light.
There’s Ginger and I – who are a couple
and therefore considered a bubble –
plus Tom, with a three-day stubble,
who is with us but two metres apart
and Harry, the server, who is the son
of Ted who, sadly, has long gone.
All of us have got a view
on the recent outbreak’s measures
and on the wisdom of the latest curfew.
Thomas, as ever, is full of doubt
and wonders whether he should isolate
when half the nation is out and about.
His is not a real conversation
but a long list of constant complaints
that would test the patience of Job.
Harry is convinced that hospitality
is heading towards a rapid decline
especially now that he’s required
to stop serving victuals precisely at nine.
We look at each other with a vacant gaze
and we are gripped by an anxiety attack.
We are depressed and have the blues;
disconsolate we say our tearful goodbyes
and hurriedly leave that eating place
no longer lit by phosphorescent hues.
© Luigi Pagano 2020
© ionicus 2022