We spent the morning in a coffee shop
working out the problems with the novel
I have been writing for longer
than I can stand to admit,
although you keep telling me not to worry about that part,
it’s done when it’s done
and when we were done,
for today at least,
I get up to pay the bill
for tea, coffee and a sweet little muffin
and the guy, who brought our coffee, tea and
sweet little muffin
is ringing me up,
the same guy who I forgot to ask for milk
for my tea, because I drink it like the English,
and he says
“so, you are a writer.”
just like that. And I wasn’t sure what to say.
It wasn’t mean, but it wasn’t necessarily kind,
like I was sure his next comment wasn’t going to be
something like, “cause I have a publishing company
back here behind the coffee shop that is just dying to
publish a redhead like you.”
Plus I couldn’t tell if it was a question. Or a statement.
So I just said, “uh, yeah.”
because I used to be articulate but not anymore
and he nods, and doesn’t say anything which prompts me to say
“well, you know, it’s my first novel.”
and now I realize that I sound like all those other idiots
who come into coffee shops as a fake, you know the type,
those people who don’t do anything for weeks and weeks
but decide that a poem once a month is enough, if that,
those people we were just making fun of, dear,
on the walk down because we have to draw clear lines
about what we do versus what they do
when it comes to alarms going off at 5 am.
I don’t want to sound like one of those people so I say,
“well I have a book of poems”
and I think about lying and saying a couple books cause it wouldn’t really hurt anyone.
I mean who cares, right?
But this guy has already given me back my change cause he doesn’t really care,
and his co-worker, who is smiling like all get out,
says it’s okay about the four cents and with short stubby fingers
pries 4 pennies off the counter and drops them in the register.
I feel bad about this,
and about everything I said,
so I leave 2 dollars in the tip jar
one for tea and coffee and the sweet little muffin
and the other for indulging
me and this stack of papers under my arm.
10 hours ago