Truth Values in a Conversation Over a Cup of Coffee

S

If we were face to face
right now, basking in the aroma
of roast coffee, drinking in
the ambient lights amid
these bourgeois conversations,
I would laugh with you
as I always do
and hide the truth.

I would close my eyes
one moment and the next
feel the cold wood
of this round table, read
the lazy inscriptions and listen
to the Latin music and voices all
to avoid
the reality of a secret.

I would listen to your stories–
the kind I always hear, about
this love affair with fate, this
ricocheting of symbols and signs
and foretellings, of the alignment
of the stars when the one
passes by, as if to stand in
attention. I would nod
at every pause, ask what happens
next, show the appropriate
mask of an emotion, as if
on cue in this stage
of a lie

And, yes, I would hear you say
these platitudes, this greatness you
imagine to be friendship, and I
would always smile
like I always do.

I would never tell you, though,
how it’s all I can do
to keep from spilling a handful
of lonelinesses to you: one for
every day that a thought of the one
escapes from your lips and enters
my ears to mock me for every
minute and every moon.

If we were face to face
right now, I would
keep silent for silence
envelopes me in a hopeful
security, no matter how
false.

First Published on June 29, 2012

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