Alone Again at the Wok ‘N Roll
by Cameron Miller

The dry voice of my dead father whispers into silence,
“get your elbows off the table.”

Sunday night, eight pm
sixty years old,
flab weeping over a frayed brown belt,
bellybutton kissing the edge of pale yellow Formica
freckled with the crust of earlier diners.
Alone again at the Wok ‘N Roll.

Regretting grizzly meat
glazed in sticky sauce, now sour on my tongue,
a wad of silt in the urban river of my bowels.
I sit and stare at nothing
under flickering florescence casting
this earnest décor
in the yellow of dirty teeth.

I am waiting.
Nothing, no one
waits for me,
A noodle
a cashew
a gnawing hope left on plastic plate –
someone, anyone

No one does
and no one will
and here I am
alone again
at the Wok ‘N Roll.

All that’s left is fortune cookie, small lifeless
prophet in a bag.
But it is a message in a bottle someone,
somewhere, wrote to me.

Cellophane crackles
over currents of fusty air
as I unfold the ribbon of paper.
Mouth agape I read, “Pick new fortune cookie.”

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Alone Again at the Wok ‘N Roll,” like Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s poem [“I Am Waiting”], is about the vacuum of empty space that waiting for anything seals us within.

IMAGE: “Fortune Cookie” by Lauren Pretorius. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cameron Miller is a Hoosier by birth, a preacher by profession, and an author by vocation. He has been writing professionally for over 30 years as a preacher, columnist, storyteller, and professor of religion. Recently he traded fulltime parish ministry for writing fiction, poetry, and spiritual reflections, and relocated to the fabled Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. He has poems appearing soon in upcoming anthologies by Eyewear Press (UK) and Inwood Indiana Press. He is the author behind the curtain at