Behind the Counter


[image source]

by Eryn Connery

You will leave with your empty cup

and I will immediately forget your face.

My barista smile isn’t an invitation,

the tilt of my head and my

high-pitched voice mean I’m trying to upsell you.

I’m here for my company,

for my boss, for my paycheck,

not for you.

So, you got a boyfriend?

I will forget your face, but I won’t forget

the way you wouldn’t leave,

two rough hands on the counter,

mine shaking on the register’s keys.

Fear bites, bitter in my mouth – ironically bitter,

the taste of espresso and


Come on. Just one date.

What is it? Is it my dress code pencil skirt

and white blouse? Is it the way I greet you

warmly, exactly like I’ve greeted two hundred

customers today? Is it that I seem small,

vulnerable, easy, even stupid

in my green apron, holding a paper cup?

When do you get off work tonight?

Is it because I am behind the counter

with nowhere to go?

I’m being nice to you. At least be polite

and give me your number.




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