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Ava Leavell Haymon.
“Louie’s: Home of the Veggie Omelet.”
— on the cook’s t-shirt

© Ava Leavell Haymon.
Used by permission.
All rights reserved.

for Mona Lisa Saloy

Louie’s at eleven

waiting for Mona Lisa.

The cook saws

a frozen muffin in two

and sticks it in the toaster.

I ask for some tea and squeeze

the bag. The place

fills up, it’s getting noisy.

Mona Lisa must have forgotten.

Arms wave along the counter,

stories warm, inflate. The cook

moves faster, beats eggs

with a fork. Chamomile tea,

hot down my throat. I open

in two halves, like the waffle iron:

head to toe, along a cleft

parallel to my nose — an altarpiece

carving of God

the Father, that creaks open

on its medieval hinges

to the Mary and baby

nesting inside. Her forehead

is grave, Flemish. She is

handing the baby the round ball

of the world. I go ahead and order:

veggie omelet, toast

with no butter, refill

same tea bag. The gold leaf

of the ball is dimmed

with age, Mary’s blue gone

to patches of indigo and worm-

riddled wood. I’m going to eat

alone: she’s forgotten,

I’m sure of it. The griddle

goes yellow with my egg.

The gold ball’s

not the sun, not the earth — the baby

cracks it with one hand.

A yellow blanket wraps

bean sprouts, bell pepper,

chopped zucchini, celery,

red cabbage, onion.

Text prepared by:


Haymon, Ava Leavell. Eldest Daughter. Baton Rouge: LSU Pr., 2013. © Ava Leavell Haymon. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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