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At a Cafe in the Morning



By Lu Sobredo

Staring into space

not from disinterest. 

I am enthralled by the liveliness 

of this place.

Masked women gesturing

with hands and fingers 

pointed to their chests signaling 

sincerity, I suppose—one

to the other listening intently

then reciprocating with cupped hands

as though emphasizing a response.

Now their heads bobbed

front to back as if in a dance,

their laughter seems to croon

along with the music piped

through the Café walls.

The sun, victorious against the morning

fog, shines through the expanse

of the glass window, its brightness

rested on my son’s dark brown hair

accentuated by the sun-induced 

reddish tint. The highlighted

head of hair reminded me

of my mother’s, my son’s maternal

grandmother he has only met 

through stories. Storytelling is central

to my young years, ancestral stories

heard and stored in a cup of tea 

or a treasure box as told lovingly by

aunties, their mothers, granduncles

and my son hears them lovingly

repeated from my lips, his mother’s lips

that in reality are that of his ancestors’

whose stories are kept alive through

our mouths, ears and hearts as they must.

The morning muse peeked in at sunrise

and snapped insistent fingers which

magically led to the undoing 

of sleep from eyes often sleep-

deprived. It mattered not...the chatter

and signs from morning café goers too

captivating to ignore. Little seven-year-old

girls in their colorful red and yellow 

hooded jackets hugging stuffed animal toys, 

their security blankets no less, 

I gather, waiting for the drink orders

their mother soon retrieved from the counter.

I would love to listen in on little girl conversations

but no need. Watching from a distance is more

compelling; compelling for a writer to imagine

how what transpires in this Café could fuel, shape 

the next short story, perhaps a second novel

or simply perk up the imagination. The two little girls

walking out the tall wide glass doors to take 

their leave strutting quickly behind 

their mother who left in a hurry armed with

a cup of coffee in a compostable cup,

the sight, a perfect mimicry

of new ducklings instinctively following

mother duck without question, without pause. 

Only obedience, order and harmony in silence.

Staring into a space, 

I am enthralled by the liveliness 

of this place.

“Look at how many people are outside,”

my son urges...

More conversations at tables for two.

Many more...sipping coffee, 

chomping gracefully on delicious

plant-based breakfast sandwiches,

staring at a laptop screen with eyes

protected by huge designer sunglasses... 

A man in a Kelly-green T-shirt, his arms folded

waiting his turn to place an order

to a patient barista wearing a black mask.

The scene transpires organically

in this pandemic world. The movements: 

from a nimble walk towards the line, 

swinging arms while waiting for

names to be called once the beverage 

is ready for pick up, to little girl fingers

adjusting her mask...each and every 

movement is life acted out 

in a Café in the morning.

Smiling into space with eyes fixed

on a rainbow flag gracing the wall, 

I am riveted by the liveliness 

of this place.

Poem and Photo ©Lu Sobredo


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