String of Pearls

After Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks

The cut of her satin dress
accentuates an angular frame.
The color of her hair, her lips, and
garment disparate beneath the harsh
lighting where she sits on a stool
by her boyfriend in an all-night diner.

She closes the cover
of his matchbook to lay it down
upon discovering a woman’s name
and number scrawled on it,
happy for a distraction when the server
engages him in conversation.

Between two coffee cups, their hands
rest on a counter almost touching.
She wonders if he is seeing the girl
and considers confronting him but
doesn’t want to know.

She raises a hand to her bodice where
the necklace should be, the one he keeps
promising her. She imagines a knotted
rope of shiny pearls, the feel of them
against her fingers, her looking
so complete.

Barbara Astor is a poet who lives in Bellbrook, Ohio. Her work, in part, has appeared in Concho River Review, Avocet, The LyricLilliput Review, Kaleidoscope, Tiger's Eye, and The Avalon Literary Review. She is the author of two poetry collections by Finishing Line Press: Thirty Years Past (2011) and High into the Blue (2013).