Courtyard Cafe

When you sit in a cafe, a book in your hand, wishing you were fully absorbed in it

the cigarette between your fingers burns faster than you are breathing.

You see them from the corner of your eye, peering at you and your book and your cigarette, judging you and that shiny little glass you are drinking tea from.

When your eyes meet, you know they want to be you or do what you are doing because it looks cool.

If only they could see how flawed you are, with all your messy thoughts and the messier hair, your inability to read two sentences without drifting into small pleasures coffee shops have to offer

their square tables, those oval chairs and round faces on them, talking, watching, laughing, holding, thinking.

Light another one and watch it as it escapes your mouth, the fingers, and now the air.

Listen to the traffic outside and squirm every time you hear that accident noise – of tires screeching to a concrete halt, of yelling and the smell of blood, even if there isn’t any.