At Tartines Corner Bakery Café in San Francisco

— Dennis Richardson

Across the street in the second floor bay window
Stands a woman in a red sweater on the phone
Looking down at the café like she wished she were here.
A waitress, wrapped in her summer towel-like skirt,
Semidredlocked hair pulled back in its semidredlocked tail,
Circulates through the crowd looking for a missing person.
Next to me a man reads the Metro as he drinks
His cappuccino picking at the fingers of his bear claw,
Oblivious of the child counting the wrinkles on his forehead.
Tables, crowded with people sharing spaces,
Friends, lovers, singles, some with babies, dogs, books
All loosely held in place by the static electricity
Generated by the friction of our thoughts.
A woman with her green sparkle purse enters.
Everything stops. There is something about the way
She looks at the eclairs like she is eating their brown
Chocolate coats with her eyes. The soft powdered snow
On the cream puffs beginning to melt.
Satisfied for the moment, I finish my cup of coffee, put on my
Cap and blank face and head out into the deceptive world
Where everything that is good is sometimes bad,
Where I sometimes say no when I really want to say yes.

One thought on “At Tartines Corner Bakery Café in San Francisco

  1. Such a beautiful poem, Dennis. A slice in time, that you link to eternity. The end of the poem! Oh my god, good and bad and yes and no; but the elegiac power of that last line. The last two lines, it seem to me, would be appropriate as a philosopher’s stone, or lines on a headstone. The world I lived in, “where I sometimes say no when I really want to say yes.” Yes!

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