Movie posters covered in sharpie
on cluttered walls muffle mediocre
juke box—greatest hits albums & Creed;
an all-night diner that closes at 10;
the scent still grieving smoking laws.
Teenager sits opposite me with milkshake.
I nod, study walls, sip bad coffee,
search for late-afternoon conversation.
Questions: how’s school? Home?
Want anything else? How’s your sleep?
Things are fine. Sleep’s not a problem.
Good. It’s important for mental health.
Clean rooms. No screen time. He nods.
I finish my 3rd cup, pay and leave.
At home, I shove clutter off my bed,
binge on Netflix, wait for anxious dreams.