I think this is an amazing poem, and I love that it references Dubrow's, but what's interesting is that I don't remember there being any waitresses there.
By Jason Shinder
Originally published in Every Room We Ever Slept In, Sheep Meadow Press, 1993
Reprinted in Night Out: Poems about Hotels, Motels, Restaurants, and Bars, 1997
There is a table in the back where she opens
her mouth to red lipstick, lets her eyes down
for a touch of blue mascara, and rests
her bunioned feet. Six more hours
before she can sip Coca Cola and sleep
in front of her father’s new Magnavox 14 inch Black & White,
Milton Berle running across the screen.
She touched Mr. Berle’s hand once in 1948
when he raised his right arm for her
and a roast beef sandwich. The world shrieked,
rang in promise. She knows it was then the twitching began
in her left eye. Esther is still
waiting tables at Dubrow’s. Sadie still hanging coats
at Sutter’s. Sunday, she’s got her cousin Lenny’s
green Chevrolet. The tall kitchen doors swing back
and forth, parting the hair on her forehead.
She can taste the salt at the back of her throat
thinking of the man
who will lean into her one night. Not the girl
smiling, balancing three bowls of soup on her left arm,
but a woman who could claim all beauty hers,
not to keep it, but to hold it long enough to change.