Christopher P. P. White
The Swan - Poem by Christopher P. P. White
I go to that coffee shop every day.
The coffee is never made
The same way
And the girl behind the counter
Always has a different face
That varies in wrinkles, lipstick
There is always one constant.
The man in the tuxedo
Who sits in silence by the patio,
Drinking the same tea:
Milky, two sugars—
I spoke to him once about the weather
And he seemed charming;
He reminded me of George Bailey
But with a hint of that dull grey
Running through his thoughts.
He was always humming a melody
I seem to recall from days
That existed long before
Glen Miller I think.
In his hands,
He held a napkin that read
The name of the coffee shop.
Like a caterpillar
To a butterfly,
It became an elegant swan;
Folds in precise places
And great care in every crease.
A true work of art.
But for whom?
The man always drew the letters M and O
Under the wing of the bird.
Were these letters even a name?
He would leave his swan at the table—
I have a hundred now and I still
Who the man with the swan is.
I haven't seen him for around three months now.
Maybe he lost the will to live
Without his swan.
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