Saturday, 10 June 2017

The sixth Moon Prize* goes to Alexis Rhone Fancher's poem "For the Sad Waitress at the Diner in Barstow"—backdating to the full moon of February 10, 2017. This poem grabbed me on first reading and has never yet let go. Congratulations, Alexis Rhone Fancher.


For the Sad Waitress at the Diner in Barstow

by Alexis Rhone Fancher


beyond the kitchen’s swinging door,
beyond the order wheel and the pass-through piled
high with bacon, hash browns, biscuits and gravy,

past the radio, tuned to 101.5-FM
All Country – All the Time,
past the truckers overwhelming the counter,
all grab-ass and longing.

in the middle of morning rush you’ll
catch her, in a wilted pink uniform,
coffee pot fused in her grip, staring over
the top of your head

you’ll follow her gaze, out the fly-specked, plate
glass windows, past the parking lot,

watch as she eyes those 16-wheelers barreling
down the highway, their mud guards
adorned with chrome silhouettes of naked women
who look nothing like her.

the cruel sun throws her inertia in her face.
this is what regret looks like.

maybe she’s searching for that hot day in August
when she first walked away from you.

there’s a choking sound
a semi makes, when it pulls off the
highway; that downshift a death rattle
she’s never gotten used to.

maybe she’s looking for a way back.
maybe she’s ready to come home.

(But for now) she’s lost herself
between the register and the door, the endless
business from table to kitchen, she’s

as much leftover as those sunny side eggs,
yolks hardening on your plate.


* * * * *

"For the Sad Waitress at the Diner in Barstow" was first published in The San Pedro River Review, 2016 and in S-Curves,
http://s-curvesonline.com/sad-waitress-diner-barstow/ (2016)

Alexis Rhone Fancher is the author of How I Lost My Virginity to Michael Cohen and other 
heart stab poems, (2014), State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (2015), and Enter Here (2017). 
She is published in The Best American Poetry 2016, Rattle, Slipstream, Hobart, Cleaver, The 
MacGuffin, Poetry East, Plume, Glass, and elsewhere. Her photographs are published 
worldwide, including the cover of Witness, Heyday, and Nerve Cowboy, and a spread in River 
Styx. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of The Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural 
Weekly. She lives in Los Angeles. Find out more at: www.alexisrhonefancher.com 


* The Moon Prize ($91) is awarded once a month on the full moon for a story or poem posted in Writing In A Woman's Voice during the moon cycle period preceding the full moon. I don't really want this to be competition. I simply want to share your voices. And then I want to pick one voice during a moon cycle for the prize. I fund this with 10% of my personal modest income. I wish I could pay for each and every poem or story, but I am not that rich. (Yet?) For a little while only there will be two awards each month, on the day of the full moon and the day after, until I catch up with past postings.

Why 91? 91 is a mystical number for me. It is 7 times 13. 13 is my favorite number. (7 isn't half bad either.) There are 13 moons in a year. I call 13 my feminist number, reasoning that anything that was declared unlucky in a patriarchal world has to be mysteriously excellent. Then there are 4 times 91 days in a year (plus one day, or two days in leap years), so approximately 91 days each season. In some Mayan temples there are or were 91 steps on each of four sides. Anyway, that's where the number 91 comes from, not to mention that it's in the approximate neighborhood of 100.