Ex-Lover as a Stranger in Nina's Café

Jessica Hudgins

This place is grand! Outlandish!
The barista announces orders over an intercom!
She makes cappuccinos. Look!
Upstairs, the cook places pad thai
in a basket and lowers it
to the counter. Pad thai! 
Who are you, coming up the stairs?
There is snow still melting in your hair!
You sit a few seats down
and rub the red marks your socks made
around your calves.
Phone in one hand, croissant in the other,
you eat like a heron walks: carefully, carefully.
The basket goes down its white rope.
You’ve broken my heart.
When you leave, I scoot over
to your warm seat
and these new strangers,
nothing like you.