Zodiac Nightmare

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 threats,

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.

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