Starbucks Saint

                              The corner cushion seat is his
                              without being claimed or kept.
                              Only where he can usually be
                              found as expected more often
                              than not, working on his usual
                              six shots of espresso, straight.
                              He brings his office in with him,
                              phone and laptop and papers
                              placed for ready action to focus
                              on a memorandum, on research
                              and scheduled conference calls,
                              on the mathematics of what has
                              not yet happened yet will come
                              as driven as on a caffeine rush,
                              as relaxed as that familiar chair.
                              He can always be interrupted by
                              a regular’s customary rant heard
                              enough times to tell it for them,
                              by a stranger’s incidental crisis
                              he will never touch again after,
                              by a child’s dancing play, by any
                              need for that moment’s miracle.
                              Today it was the woman worried
                              for her husband’s planned surgery
                              how he might require yet another
                              amputation and she doesn’t know
                              how she’ll make it if she loses him
                              and she has been getting no sleep
                              but she wants the family vacation
                              afterward to be his most special
                              if only their children come through.
                              Tomorrow her husband of thirty odd
                              years faces his critical surgery, but
                              today she takes the hour to come
                              here for her usual morning tea, for
                              her usual time to herself, for these
                              words shared with one who cares.
                              We won’t see her back for a week
                              or maybe two while she’s at a hotel
                              down by the medical center to cry
                              her hopes through, to see her love
                              live and stand to walk on with her.
                              So when we see her next, our quiet
                              sir will pick up the tab on her tea and
                              inquire after her rest and her family’s
                              good fortune, then have that smile
                              of his when she lets him return to
                              his work, sipping at his espresso.


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