First Timer

Response poem to Steve Fuller’s poem In the Cafe

All are welcome at the Go Dog Go Cafe

I stand getting wet in cold rain
watching through plate glass windows
edges fogged
rendering the scene inside
a soft feathered oval
aroma of coffee
faint but distinct
drifts past my nose
feeling a bit shy and tentative
I approach the door
pull it open
to the sound of a cheerful bell
I am greeted by steamy warmth
that fogs my glasses
intriguing smells
hum of lively conversation
a few patrons
look up at me with curiosity
as I approach the counter
I intend only to order coffee
but impulsively add a scone
enticingly calling from the glass case
the barista smiles as she hands me my order
my change
you’re new around here
not a question
I nod
I nod again
then add poet
she points to a large wooden table
toward the front of the café
full of laughter
easy conversation
Steve, can you find a chair for a newcomer?
the barista calls from behind the counter
before I can respond
everyone good-naturedly
rearranges themselves
to accommodate an extra chair
I nod my thanks at the barista
before approaching the table
coffee and pastry in hand
I am greeted with warm open smiles
a tall man in the center
gestures to the now empty chair next to him
welcome he says as I put down my food
absorb the introductions
my shyness fades as
I take my seat
seamlessly included
in the conversation
as if I am an old friend
who has been away
I mentally sigh

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All Rights Reserved

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