At the Grand Café

Lee Schlesinger

I didn’t see the muffins until I had already ordered
French Toast, which was after all an excellent choice,
It was thick, the bread fresh, and it held
The syrup chastely on its crisp surface. The muffins
Were in a case near the counter. The menu
Said nothing of them - perhaps it said, Baked Goods,
Or even Muffins, but that told nothing - how was one to know?
Of course, they were appealing in the ways
Pastries always are, but the best was the idea of it,
Peach-corn, luxurious confection, unsuspectable, provocative.
But I had already ordered, though no doubt
It was not too late to change my order
Or add the muffins to it - but why bother?
To change would leave the same regret, now
For French Toast, not muffin; and to add would be
Merely an evasion - one must choose, and choosing,
Must exclude; anyway, I didn’t want so much to eat.
I did enjoy the French Toast. As we were finishing breakfast,
Another couple came in, and I thought to jump up
As they got comfortable at their table and say: There is so much
To choose from, look at the muffins in the case,
Read the menu minutely - that vague and trivial hunger
You casually brought in with you this morning, examine it,
Heed it, for what do you hunger this morning,
Ask yourself again, for what do you hunger?