Sitting behind the tall windows,
staring at moving pictures of people
walking back and forth down Harvard Sq
waiting for my Americano to cool down.
A chinaman argues with an Iraqi
over parking validation a block away.
A homeless, negro woman long over due in death
asks to borrow my phone to call a shelter
for a place to sleep the night away.
“I’m not good with numbers,”
she says to me.
“I’ll dial,” I respond,
“you just talk.”
“I can do that,” she says, “I can do that.”
30 busy signals in seven minutes
before it finally rings.
“It’s a competition,” she says.
“You’ll win,” I respond.
I hand her the phone.
She huddles in her chair
like a guinea pig in a cage
as I sip an Americano.
“It’s validated!” the chinaman screams,
“I want to speak to your manager.”
“I am the manager,” the Iraqi replies.
The negro woman hands me my phone.
She doesn’t talk.
Not one word.
“Is everything set?” I ask.
She smiled a nearly toothless smile.
“I ain’t never won a thing in my life.”
She picks up a grocery bag of her life’s belongings
and walks slowly out of the Starbucks.
“I’m goddamn glad we’re bombing your country,”
I hear the chinaman say.
“Tell it to your child slaves,” the Iraqi responds.
Neither one watching the old lady
as she passes them by.
I just sit and stare from behind the tall Starbucks glass
before throwing out my Americano
for being too cold.