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What's In a Name
Ellaraine Lockie

He didn't come to Starbucks
for coffee yesterday or today
I listen for the tap-tap of his cane
The breath that sighs from the easy chair
next to mine as he sinks into it every morning
When I drag out my mental scrapbook
from a summer in Osaka to manage
Konnichewa or Ohayo Gazaimasu

He tries simple English
like the haiku he grew up with
Silent words sometimes shape our lips
His scowl when someone beats me to my chair
My smile at his vigilance

Mostly we rely on fingers
A tap on his shoulder before
I hand him a piece of chocolate
Curl of his pointer when his voice fails
and I lean in for his Thank you
A not-to-worry wave when he shuffles
to the restroom

I like this limited relationship
The almost romance of it
The quiet between us and the mystique
I worry and want to call him
now that I've finished my refill
But realize I don't even know his name

From Coffee House Confessions (Silver Birch Press, 2013).
Used here with the author's permission.

Photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher

Ellaraine Lockie grew up in a Montana farm town and writes at her local Starbucks every morning because it feels like one of the friendly coffee shops where she grew up, a place where everyone knew everyone else who came for coffee and camaraderie. Along with publications in the standard journals, Ellaraine's poems have appeared on broadsides, buses, rented cars, bicycles, cabins, greeting cards, key chains, bookmarks, mugs, coffee sack labels, church bulletins, radio shows and cable TV.
Ellaraine serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine, LILIPOH.


Post New Comment:
Original and delightful.
Posted 04/26/2013 12:35 PM
Beautiful. Ellaraine proves over and over again that there is poetry all around us, all we have to do is take time to notice it.
Posted 04/22/2013 12:24 PM
Lovely as always. I can smell the coffee!
Posted 04/22/2013 12:02 PM
Ralph Murre:
Awwww and awe, Ellaraine. Y'get me every time.
Posted 04/22/2013 11:33 AM
chris schulz:
"The quiet between us and the mystique" yes, that place where soul resides. Thank you!
Posted 04/22/2013 11:24 AM
What a beautiful piece. I've had some relationships of this nature, and I have always found them to be some of the most precious. Kudos for a job well done!
Posted 04/22/2013 11:11 AM
Fine, sensitive poem.
Posted 04/22/2013 11:03 AM
Ellaraine, All the unknowns that are part of our daily lives--people who touch our souls. Thank you for this poem.
Posted 04/22/2013 10:12 AM
Glen Sorestad:
Thank you for this poem, Ellaraine!
Posted 04/22/2013 09:36 AM
warm and true poem, Ellaraine, about so many people that pass through our life unnamed..thanks
Posted 04/22/2013 09:33 AM
Beautiful! Makes me want to go out for coffee and experience such a moment - the fleeting, sensitive connection wth a stranger / friend.
Posted 04/22/2013 08:38 AM
Wow! Lovely poem!
Posted 04/22/2013 08:17 AM
This is poetry at its best! So beautiful.
Posted 04/22/2013 07:51 AM

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