This is a continuation, as the year draws to a close, of a set of short vignettes I wrote as the year began.

a couple with urgent, anxious looks in their eyes
enter a vegan cafe;
their basset hound companion lies down in front of the cafe
to wait, as if she were accustomed to this routine

the couple brings in a wheeled baby carriage
piled high with old, worn plastic bags full of what i guess to be used clothes

they sit, squeezed together, in one huge overstuffed chair by the door
and kiss, then order, carefully, from the menu;
he pulls out a newspaper with a bunch of ads circled
and they talk about them, pointing in various directions at the street
to show where, relative to the cafe, the addresses in the ads are located

the cafe worker who brings their food knows them
and they chat for a few moments;
he proudly puts his hand on his partner’s stomach
and she smiles and blushes

he is wearing a pair of sad, threadbare gloves
as he counts out the coins for the bill
reaching twice into his pocket to ensure he has enough

as they leave, the worker congratulates them;
they feed the leftovers to the basset, who eats them enthusiastically
and then the woman takes the newspaper with the circled ads
and walks off in one direction
and the man takes the basset’s leash
and walks off in the other


at a table near the back of the cafe
a young woman sits reading;
she is wearing a cap with cat ears, and a striped jacket with a cat’s tail,
and a giant black felt hat with a slip marked “5 1/2” tucked in the band

at the next table a woman and her young daughter are eating vegan nachos
and the girl laughs and points at the cat-woman
and is shushed by her mother

the cat-woman smiles and winks at the little girl
and then signals her in mime — a raised finger “wait”
and then the finger curls in and wags slowly “come over here”
as she pulls an ocarina out of her bag
and begins to play a haunting tune

and the little girl, delighted, begins to dance among the tables


a man with a sad smile comes into the cafe
and sits, alone, at a table for two,
pulling out his laptop, logging in,
tapping the keys slowly, hesitantly

a kris delmhorst song comes on the cafe’s music system
and he quietly sings along:

after all of these years, look at me here
with a love song stuck in my throat
got the weight of the world on my shoulders, i won’t let it go

how can i dive right down in the deep blue sea
and still hope to find my way home
when i stumble on my way to the shore,
when all of the airplanes, all of the cars,
and all the miles in the world
are still not enough to quite reach your door

after all of these years, will you look at me here
with this love song stuck in my throat
got the weight of the world and there’s not too much else i can hold

he’s smiling broadly now, a giant grin from ear to ear
but if you look closely, you can see
his face is streaked with tears

Category: Poetry
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4 Responses to Veg-nettes

  1. Dave, the prose reads well as haibun. Ever thought about writing haiku? The only trick is that you need to (learn to) be succinct! ;-)

  2. Oh, and here’s me in a cat hat (actually totoro). My wife felted it herself.

  3. Ed Jewett says:

    Great stuff… thanks.

  4. Martin Roell says:

    Loved these. Thank you so much

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