There’s this particular nightmare I have
where I’m at a generic downtown cafe.
You know the scene:
tables with big, striped umbrellas,
cobblestones, a stupid fountain,
Hallmark cliches on a budget.
It’s sunny outside but also jacket weather,
and for once you’re not complaining about the cold.
A quick breeze bothers
the leaves of an oak
and flicks litter about,
it makes your hair waltz
and fall across your face.
We catch up like old friends,
about how it’ll be different this time around.
Thirteenth times the unlucky charm.
You are eating a piece of lemon cake
with a cup of Italian coffee
because you think you radiate high class,
while I eat something plain
like a blueberry scone and water
because even in my dreams
eating disorders tell me what to do.
There is no fighting,
no more cuts or bruises.
Infidelity doesn’t exist
because lies do not take up residence
in this space.
We share a laugh together
while a finch lands on the table
and steals a lemony crumb
from your empty plate.
A dove coos from the power line above.
The scene is picturesque,
like a sappy film that nobody wants to see.
As we say goodbye
you hug me tight,
the side of your head pressed
against the center of my chest.
Warmth fills my body,
tingling my nerves
and firing off warnings to my brain.
I can’t let go,
even though I’ve tried for years.