Ode to the Coffee Shop Girl

The other day I was talking about poetry with a friend.  In college I took a few creative writing classes, poetry is one of the hardest forms of writing because there are so few words to work with.  That means that those words, the format, the punctuation, the sounds, all need to be carefully considered.  The really good poetry is amazing at getting complex thoughts, feelings across in the fewest words.  Bad poetry can be really bad.  The purpose of the class was to use constructive criticism to help poets improve their art.  Too many didn’t.  I’m notoriously hard on poets.

Well, the conversation seemed to have shaken something loose in the back of my head.  So, when I was struck with sudden inspiration I decided to go with it and see what came out.  I’ll let you judge the results.


Ode to the Coffee Shop Girl


She doesn’t remember me but smiles like I’m her lost love.

She beams.

She’s polite, courteous, subservient and beautiful.

She wears her hair up, revealing the slow sweep of her jaw,

the thin lines of her neck.

Her apron is tight, showing the curve of her breasts, her hips,

but loose enough for the coffee shop mothers, their strollers in tow.

A chaste angel with a sly gleam in her eye.

A light pastry, hardly a weight on the tongue, yet rolls around the mouth like thick honey.

I don’t stop here for the exotic blends, the fatty creams, or sticky sweets.

She doesn’t hesitate when I order a large, black coffee, even though there isn’t a “large” on the menu.

No sugar, no cream,

it seems a shame to waste the skills in those delicate fingers but she doesn’t mind.

Those fingers that dance among the beans, and cream, and steam, and syrups, and heat.

I would love to watch her lick her fingers after a shift.

She puts my name on the cup in magic marker, worried I might forget it when I drown in those mocha eyes.

I always tip her well.


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