Excuse me for being personal, but that’s a handsome tattoo on your arm.”

“Thank you. Have you decided what you’re going to have, ma’am?”

“I was thinking about the blue plate special. Does it hurt, doing it?”

“Shall I put you down for the blue plate, then?”

“Yes, please. I suppose I shouldn’t ask such personal questions. But does it?”

“Hurt? Not really. Just pin-pricks. Did you want the broccoli or string beans with that?”

“Broccoli, please. You probably think I’m too old even to think about it, but tell me, if you don’t mind too much, who did yours?”

“My boyfriend. He’s a tattoo artist. Did you want soup or salad to start?”

“Soup, please. Would you mind letting me read the whole thing? It seems to go past your elbow. ‘Miles to go’?”

“Look, I’ve got to wait on other customers, you know. Here: ‘and miles to go before I sleep’. It’s from a poem, I think. Do you want brown bread or white?”

“Oh, yes. Robert Frost. Imagine, from wrist to shoulder! Nice handwriting, too, framed in all those flourishes and furbelows. Makes your arm worthy of a museum. Is the brown bread whole wheat, or multi-grain?”

“I’m not sure. Multi, I think. Do you know the name of the poem?”

“It’s called Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. I can probably find it for you on my phone while you bring me the soup for starters. What’s today’s?”

“Mushroom or vegetable. They’re both home-made. The chef here is good.”

“I’ll try the mushroom, thanks. Meanwhile, I’ll go to work for you. Hmmmm. Good old Google. Hmmmm.”

“Excuse me. Here’s the soup.”

“You’re back already? That was quick!”

“Did you find it?”

“Here it is. Come read over my shoulder. ‘Whose woods these are I think I know’. . .”

“‘. . . His house is in the village, though?’ I don’t quite get it.”

“You have to read the whole thing. It’s not long. Shall I send it to you? What’s your e-dress?”

“I. . . . I’m sorry, ma’am,but I don’t know you. They always say to guard your privacy. How do I know you’re not some kind of weirdo? I mean, asking about my tattoo and all.”

Dime Show Review“Of course, but then you’ll have mine, too, won’t you, so you can check up on me. I’m a professor at the college. Just starting, actually. Do you have other tattoos?”

“Yes, several. A professor of literature, or poetry?”

Read the whole story and hear me read it at Dime Show Review



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