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Jul 2013
they acted as if I was not there  
alone with my elbows on Formica, only six feet from their booth    
she said she wished his mother was not moving to town  
“I wish she had not outlived Dad” he said,
his eyes looking through the window  
like he expected to see her appear  
or perhaps, through the old glass, he saw his father
stretched out in a dark pressed suit, silent, supine  
while his mother sat tall in the first pew  
feigning agony for the loss
of something she never found  
her face hidden in her hands
while the priest prayed, and
spoke of the man he did not know,
one who had only come to his church  
after time had silenced his days  
and the embalming fluid filled his veins  
but mother wanted the mass  
mother wanted a glistening casket
a shining home he would not even see  
“Dad did not believe”  
“I know” she said,
stroking his hand that held an indifferent cup
from which he had not drunk a drop  
“I know, but it was for the family”  
“*******, we are the family” he said,
pulling away, sitting upright in his own pew  
again looking through the glass  
I knew, he must have been back
with his father, when they sat
together for the feast,
or that moment in time when his father  
released his grip from the bicycle
for the first and final time
setting him free to spin down the roads
his father knew too well, perhaps
even the one that ended in this café  
where on a mournful Monday  
he and his wife would lament loss
over unbroken bread, and let a stranger
hear their tormented tale
what you hear if you listen in an old cafe
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