What I missed

By Mike Smolarek


The waitress slips on the coffee

someone had dripped on the floor,

piled plates sailing,

fried eggs flying, like the chickens

who hatched them never would,

smack splat on the seat

of the booth.

Loose quarters, dimes, and nickels

fall from her pockets and bounce

off the checkered tile floor.


And through window

a man runs out of the revolving

doors of the bank, black mask

over his face

carrying a brown canvas bag and

waving a small handgun

not noticing the bills slipping through

the hole ripped in the bottom of the bag.

He runs past the train station


where a man reads the paper,

finding the six magic numbers-

lucky numbers-

his wife and children’s ages.

He screams, "I Won, I Won,"

making him a former construction worker

who can finally afford to send

his kids to college.


And outside those doors

a train pulls into the

station, screeching brakes

announce its arrival

and the masses push

to the doors, leaving

only a sliver of space

for those to slice their way out.


And across the street

in my warm bed,

I sleep comfortably,

my breakfast unmade,

my bank not robbed,

my numbers not lucky

and my train leaving without me

simply because

I forgot to set the alarm.