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Coffee Shop in the Late Afternoon
Nils Peterson


The beautiful woman gone
leaving the shop to young men making
their way in the January world
with cell phones and computers

and me.

Outside, a sunny day.
too warm for the season.

A phone rings a barista calls out
"Tall vanilla soy latte."
Strange talk to one who grew up
with a nickel cup of joe.

There are fewer and fewer
native speakers of one’s born language.

You learn to live with translations.

Copyright by Nils Peterson.
Used with the author's permission.




Nils Peterson is Professor Emeritus at San Jose State University where he taught in the English and Humanities Departments. Chosen as Santa Clara County’s first Poet Laureate in 2009, Nils has published poetry, science fiction, and articles on subjects as diverse as golf and Shakespeare. In February of 2011, Poetry Center San Jose will publish a larger collection of his works called How Things Happen, as part of its Caesura Series. Learn more about him here.


Post New Comment:
Carol Hauer:
..."translations" and "transitions." I will still request a "medium" instead of a "grande." Just stubborn, I guess.
Posted 01/14/2011 11:38 AM
Delightful! Congratulations on the movement of your second career. (I'm a professor emerita, too.)
Posted 01/14/2011 10:04 AM
Phyllis Beckman:
Remember when "gay" meant joyful? I realize that it still does, but with additional joyful connotations.
Posted 01/14/2011 07:25 AM

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