Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Breakfast at a Fashionable Coffee House

In which we are reminded that not all critters in need of compassion and respect go on four feet.

Skitter in the sunshine
This morning, I woke up and flung open each one of the upstairs windows that wasn't stuck. As I write, it's a balmy 66 degrees Fahrenheit. A breeze rustles the dry branches of the maple outside my window, still sapless and sleeping her long winter nap.  For the first time in weeks of sub 20 degree weather, I begin to believe again in the arrival of spring. Who can stay indoors on such a day?

Still limping a little from my adventures on the ice, I gather up reading and writing materials, pack up my satchel, and head off to one of the coffee shops I haunt. I am almost delerious with joy. Birds are singing; the earth  smells like spring, as does the air. I'm too gimpy to dance just yet, but I hobble happily along to my destination.

My favorite baristas are manning the counter.
I collect coffee cup and pastry, gimp over to the coffee urns, smiling and joyous to alive, to be out and about, to be able to walk, to see the sun. I fill my cup halfway with ice. I don't like my coffee too hot, about the temperature of a baby's bottle will do it for me. There in the window sat a wounded creature. The rigid set of her shoulders, the tight compression of her lips bespoke her pain. We sophisticated primates don't hiss and arch our backs when we're afraid, or in pain. Our bodies speak another language.

Had she been a kitten, I could have scooped her up and taken her home, but she wasn't a kitten. And so I offer these lines sadly, for all the ones we are unable save.

Breakfast at a Fashionable Coffee House

The blackness of a raven's wing shines bright upon your hair.
The emptiness of Babylon is present in your stare.
Your lips pursed tight, disdainful nose, do not hide your despair.
The agony within your heart perfumes surrounding air.

You do not meet the eyes of those who smile as they pass by.
Your dry-clean clothes--designer brands--they prop your head up high.
But oh, sweet one, the story that they told you was a lie,
You're missing all the life that should be lived before you die.

Stiletto heels are not so good for running in the grass,
and when you're locked inside your car there's much that rushes past.
Much of beauty, much of pain you miss, behind the glass:
Glass of car and home and heart; Castles built of brass.

I sip my coffee, watching you; I see the pain you feel.
Expensive haircut binds your head and leather binds your heel.
I wish that I could offer you something to soothe, to heal,
But when I catch your eye and smile, you turn away and sneer.

And so I sit here scribbling in my plastic shoes and jeans,
I know the world is maya; not all things are as they seem.
Tears sting my eyes, I send a prayer, compassion comes your way;
My blessing on you, wounded friend. My love to you today.

stlcatlady is a poet, blogger, and freelance writer of shortstories, news articles, and other such oddments, many of which center around her favorite subjecs: cats , philosophy, and folklore. You may contact her by sending email to stlcatlady1 at gmail dot com.


  1. Wounds will sometimes heal if someone is feeding her. I hope so.

  2. You are doing the best for her dat you can do. We'll hope for the best.