April 20, 2016
In Rohall’s Diner

—Bonnie Maurer
Posted in celebration of National Poetry Month

After a painting by Red Rohall

Silver stools line up
along the counter
like chorus dancers
about to spin. Enter
Betty and Jules to
take them for a twirl
on seats red as sweet-
heart candy.

Jack the soda jerk,
swipes his towel at
their elbows propped, hands
hooked, smiles and takes his
pen, “What’ll you have
America in 1941:
Skyscraper Sundae,
Adam and Eve on
a Raft, Pig Between
Two Sheets, “V” for victory
at all costs, innocence
fizzing in the glass?”

“Boogie Woogie Bugle
Boy” floods the juke.
The walls blaze yellow
as the hot summer
day. No one they know
has gone to war. Betty
has not yet delivered
their son while Jules learns
to drop bombs. Two straws
in a nickel Coke.
Jack waves so long.
Outside the diner
their Buick grins—all
its chrome teeth shining.


—Bonnie Maurer (Marion County)

This poem is from Reconfigured (Finishing Line Press, 2009).

April 20, Bonnie Maurer, photo

Bonnie Maurer is the author of Reconfigured (Finishing Line Press, 2009) and three other chapbooks. Her poems have appeared in the New York Times, Indiana Review, Nimrod International Journal, Contemporary American Voices 2015, as well as on IndyGo buses and the ceiling of St. Vincent Hospital 6th floor cancer wing. She works for Arts for Learning as a poet-in-the-schools, as a copy editor for the Indianapolis Business Journal, and as an Ai Chi (aquatic flowing energy) instructor at the Arthur M. Glick Jewish Community Center.

Poetry Prompt: Capturing the Moment Before
Write a poem that creates the moment before some life-altering event. It might be a moment that precedes a war or an invention. It could be the moment before a notable event in family history, such as before an immigrant ancestor steps aboard a ship or parents are married. How does the moment foreshadow the future? Does it also deny it? You might find inspiration for this poem in a photograph, painting, or song.

Indiana Humanities is celebrating National Poetry Month by sharing a poem and prompt every day in April. Indiana Poet Laureate Shari Wagner selected these poems and wrote the prompts.

Posted In: Poetry

One response to “In Rohall’s Diner”

  1. […] NaPoWriMo’s “Kenning Challenge” NotaLiteraryJournal’s “What Terrifies You prompt” Poetic Asides P-A-D “What Goes Unsaid prompt” Poetry School’s “Destruction& Reconstruction prompt” Mariah Wilson’s “An Ending prompt” QuillsEdge Press’ “When the Tea Kettle Sings prompt” Found Poetry’s “Decimator prompt” Apparatus Mag’s “News stories prompt” Imaginary Garden’s “Good Wishes Gone Bad prompt” Kate Foley’s “Airport muses prompt” Jo Bell’s “Spring Green prompt” Indiana Humanities’ “The Moment Before prompt” […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *