3rd Place | “Table Nine”

3rd Place
“Table Nine”
Tracy Newman
Los Angeles, California

Videos by American Songwriter

I work the night shift
He’s here now and then
He orders coffee
And takes out a pen
I offer him paper
“No, this napkin is fine”
Says the man at table nine

He asks me my age
I’m twenty-one
He smiles and says
“How’d you get to be so young?”
I call him a flirt
He calls me sunshine
The man at table nine

Table nine’s in the back by the payphone
There’s always somebody whispering to me
“You know you’re waitin’ on the Okie from Muscogee”
I don’t know or even ask what that means

He just looks like a cowboy
Kinda haggard and gray
They say he’s a singer
Folks pay him to play
But it’s hard to imagine
Standing in line
To see the man at table nine

One rainy night he comes in with a guitar
Somebody asks him to play us a tune
We pull down the shades and gather around him
He sings until almost two

And when he’s done
I bring him some pie
I say it’s on me
For that song “Mama Tried”
I ask did you write it
He says every line
I hand him a napkin
And ask him to sign
When I get home
I’m gonna find him online
The man at table nine


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