Ron Tobey - Comfort at Applebee’s during the Pandemic


Comfort at Applebee’s during the Pandemic

Ron Tobey

She stretches over our booth table framed by padded benches tall wood straight backs

no window a view to a television arms lean from short middle age stature lays out setups and menus crowded neighborhood Applebee’s evening 7:45 she presses the table takes drink dinner orders. After we finish eating wait for the busboy she comes over “I want to show you something” thrusting a mobile phone toward my wife photo of her husband’s brain surgery 5 inch tumor behind his forehead 7 inches of scar shaped like an L on left side of his shaved head. “My daughter died last summer an epileptic seizure during her second MRI 19 years old neurosurgeon failed also to correctly diagnose my husband’s seizures didn’t order an MRI Cleveland Clinic did performed surgery

we won’t know if its cancer for a while.” As we leave the restaurant I walk over to her she is standing by another table embrace her tightly

empathy suppressing display of my sorrow I was epileptic too.


Ron Tobey grew up in north New Hampshire, USA, and attended the University of New Hampshire, Durham, where he published his first poem in an independent student journal. He has lived in Ithaca NY, Pittsburgh PA, Riverside and Berkeley CA, and London UK. After professional careers in Southern California, he and his wife now live in West Virginia, where they raise cattle and keep goats and horses. Ron writes, reflecting personal experience, imagistic poetry of places, moods, and the worlds of work. He can be read and reached through Twitter @Turin5402411


How writing has affected Ron's wellbeing: For most of his life, poetry was a private space in which Ron dealt with moods and emotions. Poetry was more than catharsis. Together with writing diaries and journals, it created and shaped his experience of traumatic events and relationships in ways that contained damage and brought situations under control. Only in the past decade has Ron begun to adapt and move his poetry to the public space of publication. His poetry shifted from confessions to principles. The shift enabled him to read other poets with greater understanding of their lives, as well as his own.

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