Why I Should Always Carry a Pen

My hand itches.
As I scratch it, fragments
Of a story seep into my mind.
I have no pen or paper
But repressing the urge to write
Turns my brain into a sponge
And everything else into watery inspiration.

The longing rushes into my throat
And stays there
Like a piece of candy
Stuck; a big lump
That neither responds to my constant
Swallowing, nor flies out of my mouth
After a violent cough.
The moisture that belongs
In the long tube connecting
My mouth to my stomach
Flees and forms a mist
Over my fingers, my toes,
And my forehead.
My face resembles
Cold white marble
And my eyes
Are two glazed donuts,
A mirror
Of the ones on the plate
In front of me.

Grabbing a napkin,
I scour my pockets
For a pen, a pencil,
A crayon, chalk--anything
That will make a mark.
A blue-haired waitress
Cautiously approaches.
"Are you ok, honey?"
No, I'm not.
"I need a pen!"
"A pen, a pen."
She has to lean close to hear me.
"A pen, please."

She hands me a blue gel pen
The same color as her hair.
I grab it and write ferociously.
I am like a ravenous dog
Who has been given a meal
For the first time in a month
And the people near me
Finish their meals and leave
Half-running, afraid I will
Eat the pen, the plates, the table,
And then move on to their pens
And plates and tables.
The waitress attaches my check
To a black umbrella
And hands it to me
Across the neighboring table.
I snatch it
And fill both sides with writing
In 30 seconds. After half an hour
I collapse in my chair.
The napkin and check
Blend in with the table,
Which now has a tablecloth
Of My Words.

I eat the donuts
And drink some water.
Leaving the blue gel pen
With a few green bills
On the blue table,
I walk out of the empty restaurant
And breathe through my
Empty throat.

(c) 1998-2003 Rachel Rossos.