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.