At the Cafe

by Jerry Ratch


The light on his face from a lamp 

Felt hat with a black band 

Scrunched down 


The nose creating a strong shadow 

With dark, straight eyebrows under the hat 

Red and orange beard 


Leaning forward at the café table, watching 

A damp curl of hair on the girl's neck 

When she says the word “available” 


Then the phrase, “I am not bothered” 

Floating over the crowd 

Then, simply, “I want” 


Her face turned up to him 

Like a half moon 

Eyes black with black paint 


Skin like the insides of a ripe plum 

Black hair cut straight 

Across the forehead 


Body only minutes away 

In the long vertical mirror 

Standing naked from the waist down 


And the natural heated engine 

That lies between them, left wanting 

Panting, alive 


Before wine 

Before make-up, and fashion 

And the invention of the demitasse