Coffee House, December 2020

by Lee Patton


Though fake fire hisses out gas flames
between logs fashioned from steel,
the convivial intent seems real.
Today, the gaseous blaze plays

to an empty alcove inside
an emptied coffee house with seats
taped over. PLEASE ENJOY on first read
really pleads TAKING TREATS OUTSIDE.

The adjacent jazz-worshipping
bar’s taped over too, FUN PREVENTED
BY ORDER OF HEALTH DEPARTMENT
Let’s Drink Again, Together, Next Spring

Somebody’s grandmother subs, working
as a barista, aw-hecking when she flubs
another order.  “So sorry, bub!”
Outside, two friends try distant lurking

in puffer jackets, wool hats––darts
of mammal steam with each word more.
You’d think they’d been expelled outdoors,
mere beasts feeding in the cold, apart.



Lee Patton, a native of California’s Mendocino coast, has enjoyed life in Colorado since college. His first poetry collection, In Disturbed Soil, is forthcoming in 2021. Recent poems appear in Heirlock, Impossible Archetype, and New Verse News. His fifth novel, Coming to Life on South High, comes out in 2021. Stella Bellow is an illustrator currently attending Parsons School of Design in New York City.