I don’t see him throw the coffee on her,
but in a blink she is sopping and rigid—
he is already out the door.

I fill my fists with napkins, approach
slowly to dab her face and neck.

“You okay?”
“Yes,” escapes like steam
before she is crying, hand over
her mouth, “I broke up with him.”

The coffee smell
is thick as flies around her;
beige liquid dripping from the ends
of her black hair.

Other women arrive—the barista
gives them towels—to wipe her arms,
her blouse, her yellow plastic purse.
“What a bastard.”
“Oughta pay for dry-cleaning.”
“You burned anywhere, honey?”

The male customers stay
seated, looking hard
into their drinks.

Theodosia Henney is a Pushcart Prize-nominated queer whose poems and flash prose have appeared or are forthcoming in over a dozen publications, including RHINO, Grey Sparrow Journal, Fifth Wednesday, Vestal Review, Ozone Park, and Dirtcakes. She recently returned from several months of living out of a backpack, and is profoundly excited at the prospect of having shelves again.

This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Bystanders

  1. sonofwalt says:

    Good stuff. Worth Sharing.

  2. sonofwalt says:

    Reblogged this on The Dad Poet and commented:
    I’ve been sitting here for hours just reading, mostly poetry, but some articles too. I’ve been recuperating from a rather stressful, but good week. This is one of my favorite poems today.

  3. John says:

    Just like a man, to sit and pretend nothing is happening.

    Fabulous poem!

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