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“So What Happens Next?”—Ace Boggess

—question found in a Facebook post

I drive to Starbucks in search of lost people failing

well. There’s the blonde—young, thin,

her forearms tattooed with bean pods & dragons—

crying at a corner table, both hands gripping her grande cup

as if it might erupt. Streaks of purple tears

swear her husband left her for another man,

or she mourns how low she’s fallen,

having stolen trinkets from the Target store next door.

Then a young boy drops his frappuccino which explodes

like a paint can flung off a balcony.

I have witnessed the birth of tragedy when a single

pinkish droplet splashes less poetic brown suede of my shoe.

Soon, it’s the boy’s angry mother snarling through her shame face,

teeth like pencils grinding graphite down.

Not to be outdone, the barista in green

dances like Gene Kelly around a light pole

as he snatches up his mop & broom.

Long black hair makes night across the highways of his eyes.

I look around, knowing something’s always going on &

something else will happen next. An ending,

never quite a resolution, I exit through the glass door, &

already I’ve forgotten characters,

misremembered dialogue for silence.

Even caramel spicing up my latte fades,

its flavor like that of birthday cake

mixed with just a hint of burning oil.

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