She wore her life on her face

like a heavy mask

forged from hard days and sleepless nights

worrying about navigation

Her strong shoulders and broad hips testament to a woman

a real woman

who had fought hard since grade school

to make the grade.


Flaxen hair begging for a brush pulled back in a ponytail

looped through the restaurant’s branded tennis cap

chin up chest out

I’m Terry. How can I help you? her name tag read

I order and wait

watching from a nearby booth

as Terry teaches me

a valuable lesson in grace

and humility.


A man walks in

a sleeveless shirt and tattooed arms

With him two redheaded children in glasses

Terry smiles and makes change for her customer

then leaves the register

“Mommy,” the children exclaim

as they wrap their arms around her.


Everyone lives in a capsule

Each capsule contains

a whole life.


This is the fifth poem of my personal 30-day poetry challenge to break away from the machine to think about things that don’t matter. I have no idea what I’m doing. – Jim

A Good Day to Die

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.

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