Only

by Laurel Shelley

You offer me a ride in your blue Subaru,
And we stop at a Chinese cafe
Filled with smoke .

We sit and talk until the waitress stands
With her pad and pencil waiting for our order;
Then , we search the menu .

We hardly notice the food when it comes,
But we carry it to our mouths, automatically,
Like popcorn at the movie.

Then you stop and give me a silent look,
And my story spills out of its two-month confinement
With trickling tears.

The waitress takes our half-filled plates
And leaves us to each other
And my past.

She comes again with a pitcher of water
And fills the empty glasses we intently turn
With our fingers.

Pulling on our coats, we search
Our purses, and when we pay,
You buy me mints.