(First appeared in Republicá.)
She often goes to this little coffeehouse
to sit around
drinking cups after cups of espresso
smoking cigarettes after cigarettes
near a glass window,
which welcomes the afternoon sun,
flickering through the half drawn curtains.
This is her best place to drink and smoke
because all the people
who come here
seem perfectly normal, or sane
and they all sit quietly
as if afraid of making any noise.
Across the street is a book shop
wherein a man sits all day long
taking drags on his cheap cigarettes
and expelling the smoke slowly
his face is helpless blue and vacuous
as if painted in copper sulfate
and he doesn’t like the eerie silence
of the coffeehouse.
she sits quietly and drinks
the strong black coffee
nobody bothers her
she bothers nobody
as the sun outside
does a mad dance like Shiva
she flips through an old copy of The Bell Jar,
the contours of her face fluctuating
like a jellyfish
under the halo of serpentine smokes.
All day long
she reads and smokes and drinks.
and I love the smell of tobacco
on her lips.