Cassie makes a crown
by Jen Stein

Cassie was serving only four tables.
On other nights there would be seven
or maybe nine full of people and hotdishes

and slices of pie, cups of coffee or sweet
tea, and there would be women in feathered
hats, the peacock or painted plumage wrought

and spangled, but not tonight. Nobody knew
there would soon be a new king. Monarchs
seldom appear on such mundane days.

Why just that morning while Cassie was
serving eggs and doing a crossword puzzle
there wasn’t even one word that surprised

her, the dog came for his bone like clock
work, the mailman brought nothing but a
bill and a TV guide – it was Tuesday. But

that evening Cassie was bringing a piping
hot platter of fries and cornbread hotdish
with ham and onions and she was serving

this on a platter when the gentleman at
table three reached behind her and grabbed
a handful of her “sweet, sweet ass.” Cassie

turned. She bowed at the waist to the lord
and with the utmost grace of the Archbishop
of Canterbury, with due ceremony and

aplomb, she inverted the platter and watched
as hot cornbread was vested with dappled
potatoes, the grease still steaming, the salt

like diamonds set in the crown she placed
with propriety and purpose atop that man’s
spackled bald head. She twisted the platter

once, twice, three times for luck upon his head
and removed it, leaving the cornbread, the
ham, the cheese. All eyes were on them as

she curtsied and walked away. Who can ignore
the sight of a monarch coming into his own?


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 3.

jen steinJen Stein is a writer, advocate, mother and finder of lost things. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia where she works in family homeless services. Her work has recently appeared in Stirring, Poetica Magazine and Wicked Banshee Press, and is featured in a micro-collection in Wood Becomes Bone.

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