In 1942, when Hopper painted “The Nighthawks,”
my grandpop smoked Phillies cigars.
I was four. I remember Daddy’s
grey hat, the band and bent brim.
I don’t remember Daddy’s cigarette
the way I do my grandpop’s Phillies.
My Mommy and Daddy didn’t go out
to drink coffee. My father sat in a yellow chair,
a lamp beside it, The Philadelphia Bulletin in his hands.
I never saw him with my mother
the way Hopper’s man is with his redhead.
My mother’s torso and arms didn’t create triangles of light.
Stuff strewed our counters.
A bowl sat on a shelf on top of the radiator
in the dining room. When I broke it,
my mother cried. I moved clumsily in her house.
I was blonde but I didn’t have a job behind the counter
like the boy who serves coffee. I wasn’t alone
like the man with the dark-suited back
or the three single coffee cups. I wasn’t in a group
like the napkin box with the salt and pepper shakers.
I wasn’t stainless steel like the coffee urns.