Afternoon Café by Candyce Byrne

     Dishes clatter.
     The waitress laughs
at a joke I can’t hear

from someone in the kitchen.

     She’s clearing up the lunch mess,
     swish-sweep-ing her broom
     in crisp calypso counterpoint
     to the meaningless music

     chasing itself in and out
     of the speakers in the ceiling.
     Nobody in the place
     but me, scribbling

     at my littered table.
     She’s not ignoring me--
     my coffee’s hot and sweet
     and full of cream,

     and I’m busy with the little girl
     in my head.  “Won’t!”
     says the brat.  “Won’t write!”
     Oh, come on, I wheedle.

     Have a sip of cream.
     One more quatrain
     and I promise
     we can go home.


Candyce Byrne was raised by gypsies—no, not really. In a peripatetic military family. That experience convinced her that old beliefs never die but rather bob just below the surface of what we naïvely call reality. Her two beautiful sons grew up on Childe ballads and local theatre. She lives in a mythical Texas town with her husband of nearly 40 years, a pediatrician, and an aging dire wolf called Al—well, really half border collie/half Labrador retriever, but she's big and black and hairy and the mail lady is terrified of her.

Bay Laurel  /  Volume 1, Issue 1  /  Autumn 2012