Having brunch with my friends

by Steven Pirani

I ordered biscuits and gravy

at the Sunset Grill,

Just before the Amber Alert hit,

and our phones screamed out.

Through their food

everyone looked at their feet:

An infant,

1-year-and-9-months, missing with

her father,

24 years.

In an instant,

our meals are cold,

and the air in the room

sinks to the floor.

Death is on our plates,

and it's touching my potatoes.


the room inhales and swallows.

It eats the dead and unburies the air,

and drowns the face of death

in yolk and gravy.

Oh, and what a lovely meal it was

—They found her in Onondaga Creek,

in a little yellow bag—

though we were rushed from our table

before we could digest.