Ten Minutes

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Ten minutes early and I bide my time
Sliding into the corner
Of the cafe sanctuary
Not alone am I
We hide
Savor the few minutes
That are our own
Ten minutes early
And I see her crying
Her family is not the same
Someone is gone
Something has corrupted her home

Images flash her mind
Voiceless and vulnerable
A mockery made from an empty vessel
That vessel is not her friend
Empathizing with his darkness
The fear in his eyes
He was trying to be alone
Hiding his agony
Not wanting this to be shared
Protecting loved ones
From what he had to bare

Ten minutes to spare
Ten minutes releasing tears
Her work family waiting up stairs
Trying to coax it, rest it
Calm it, gently, smoothly
Laying it down at her side
Watching it

They are watching her
Wondering naively
Not knowing what to do

A decision to make
To go home or to shuffle through
Shuffle her way out
Of the nightmare mist
And break into the daylight
To make it out of this cafe
Pushing through these last few minutes
These last few tears
To be there
Life is here
And she deserves
To be there too


more by ANNA ELISE

photograph by Karl Chor


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