Kenneth Pobo

Dulcet Tones in a Diner Three Days Before It Burns Down Under Suspicious Circumstances

Sitting at the same booth every Wednesday, Dulcet Tones orders fried chicken, iced tea, and fries. This is not negotiable. When it comes to food, Dulcet Tones is a large menu, everything he dislikes cut out. Henrietta, or Hen, serves him. It must be Hen or Dulcet Tones grabs his coat and leaves.

Today he decides to play the juke box at his table. It only has old country songs. “I am an old country song,” he says to nobody. Hen is less friendly today.

The song Dulcet Tones plays three times is by Bill Anderson and Jan Howard: “Dissatisfied.” He likes when Bill calls Jan a dingy redhead. Dulcet Tones is a redhead, too. And he’s dissatisfied. Mostly with his soul. It’s gotten shopworn. He thought it was original until he saw dozens of them in the Perkdale Resale Shop.

The fried chicken is pretty good today. The fries, a little greasy. The iced tea, always the one thing to count on. Like the first June firefly, the tiny light bringing hope. For a few hours.

In our dream band, on Vox Continental organ:

Kenneth Pobo is the author of twenty-one chapbooks and nine full-length collections.  Recent books include Bend of Quiet (Blue Light Press), Loplop in a Red City (Circling Rivers), and Uneven Steven (Assure Press). His work has appeared in North Dakota Quarterly, Nimrod, Mudfish, Hawaii Review, and elsewhere.

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