Resting in a Café

by a contributor

K. A. Webb

Sir, you mind if I stop for a while?
Bring my bags inside?
A buddy of mine, come dark
will be here to carry these things away.
A long time ago, I learned dark
was the best time to lose something.
By the way I can’t seem to find
my mother. Let me know if someone turns up
a plastic box of ashes.
Hey, have you ever spit out a chunk of something wrong
just before you were going to swallow?
Have you ever found a bottle of wood glue
rolled inside a newspaper
and couldn’t remember why
you had to hide it? Have you ever recorded your thoughts
inside a fancy silver spoon?
Or written calamity in cursive on a red bandana?
You look tired, sir.
I’ll stop with the questions.
I got those dark circles on my eyes, too. Them
and my being from Birmingham
once gave me a reputation
of having seen something. My buddy says
he stood on the moon,
his hand to his face and with his thumb,
blocked the earth.
Wouldn’t you have liked to have seen it?
All those people
and their wars and churches and art and dry cleaning,
rivers and streets and Shit Creek
where I lit an ant bed on fire beside a half eaten can of beans,
and cigarette smoke and steaming coffee,
that teacher who loaned me my first
chapter book and the time
she made me read aloud in class, the smell
of syrup in my grandmother’s kitchen,
these dark circles on our eyes and the tune
you’ve been whistling since I got here,
all of it—lost behind a thumb in the dark.

K. A. Webb lives in Birmingham, Alabama, where she teaches at UAB, writes for Weld for Birmingham, and tends to a dog called Hank.

Also see her poem Third Date in a Graveyard in Montgomery, Alabama.