a folded newspaper tucked under his arm
he quips an offering to the younger baristas,
genuine laughter turns the silent exchange
into a five minute soliloquy.
no tip is earned
and the quiet young men turn to the entering
pack of age-appropriate girls,
offering so much more
but giving far less.
the old man strolls away with his coffee.
another holding his danish and coffee
leans to look at a picture on the wall
spilling three gulps worth across the floor
while the woman pointing at the frame
catches my eye,
and can't stop smiling.
the giant white poodle bounces
on the other side of the window,
wearing a red fleece jacket,
which won't offer much
against the soft grey rain.
the aged golden a few minutes later
stands in contrast,
as it holds at attention,
his red leash laying on the ground
he waits for his master.
now one with a faded green tam
brings in a bouquet of bright sunflowers
adorned with miniature french flags.
he sets the vase next to the baguettes,
and with the chocolate croissant on my table
but for the chattering older women
going on in english--
this could be france.
oh and the sunflowers,
which seem ironic against the muted weather.
do they have sunflowers in paris?
and now the place has mostly cleared out,
except the old friend i've ran into
meeting her friend for coffee and danishes.
and i realize
i'm that watcher
sitting over his coffee.
but my computer is my alibi.
leaving everyone unaware,
except maybe the people sitting behind me.
and all the things i came here to do
still sitting in my bag
but to think,
with my head in a book
all i would have failed to learn.