March 7, 2009


He stands at the counter next to my table,

he’s ordering
and telling the people around him
that he hasn’t been here since it was Richardsons.
No one seems to know what he means.
Including me.
Time marches on.
So do I.
But he takes a call amidst the backdrop of coffeehouse noise,
shouts to the caller
the funeral arrangements, thanking for condolences.
There will be a private burial, he chokes.
And my heart hurts.

The plates are clanking, the aromas strong.
He’s thinking of another time and another place,
a person he lost from back when this was Richardsons.

A young couple with a fuss about where to sit,

a sneer,
a silent scold.
Then they sit and they eat
with no words, just resistance.

They weren’t here when this was Richardsons.

The mail carrier stops for his short break
checks email, sips hot cocoa
and chats with regulars.

He keeps his beard always the same.

Her gruff voice interrupts my thoughts,
and a familiar face with smoky breath
smiles down at me.

She hands me my sandwich with a

“There ya go, honey.”

The machines whir, the employees flit,
The lady with the yellow and black hat
laughs at how she matches the tablecloths.

A boy and his mom sit.

Stack of library books.
She reads aloud as he carefully tries not to burn his tongue
and gazes out the window.
She loves him like I love mine.
An old friend stops and they chat,
in that careful way of


The tables are so close together
people get pinned in corners.
I’m hit in the head with a jacket sleeve,
no apology needed,

It’s small in here.
Tables screech across solid floor,
struggling to make more room.
Beans are poured from their spout
grinding loudly.
The aroma fills the air,
a thick old friend.
Like Richardsons.
She finished her meal
even the crumbs
and she picks up her book
and she hides her nose.
Anne Lamott tells stories and they teach me…
I read, “It’s scary when the self divides into one being who will be more noticed and admired, and another, worried person who gapes out at the world from inside.”
All the moving, talking, eating, laughing, scolding,
carried on by people
who are two.
These are my Saturdays, a chance to sit with my words,
a few hours
in the coffee buzz heart beats of the people around me.
And I learn new things about me and about people,
in the place that used to be Richardsons.

*Photo courtsey of flickr: verseguru



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