As I Drink My Coffee at the Pub 

She slips on a bar stool in the heat of day.
Her hair is unbrushed, unshampooed, flat grey.
You step, perfumed, from your hairdressers.

What rank room has sent her to this low, dark pub
where the barmaid pours her usual, unasked, and calls her ‘love’?
You sip wine, in a light kitchen. How could you be like her?

Heavy in her teeshirt, she has padded off the street,
will weave back, through crowds of workers, upon unsteady feet.
Silk-scarved, you click the taxi door and go.

Her eyes are blank as bottles, her coughing is a wall.
Deaths, divorce or hospital?  The barmaid will not tell.
Your phone lists all the friends with whom you speak.

She will spin the glass out slowly, until her mind is numb,
slip stiffly from the stool before the evening drinkers come.
You are booked for Spain and Santa Fe next week.

Yet I see your face in her face.  Though I lean the other way,
coffee frothing in the street’s sun, I dodge work, I dare not stay.
You and she, the stool, the barmaid, dance into my heart all day.      


Alison Brackenbury

If you have any comments on this poem,   Alison Brackenbury  would be pleased to hear them.