A brick wall

Falling down

Not down and around

Only down

Crumbling toward the ground

The way crumbs

Tumble from scones.


The drone of the machine

Espresso ground

Milk being steamed

Coins dropping

Into a glass mug

Tips for a job well done.


Each table is a life

Unto itself

Every person an objective


Breaching other island-tables

Not an option


We are all alone

In this crowd.


Unique and new

And yet,

All seen before

The way Carl Jung

Said that even our dreams

Are shared—

The archetypes of those

Who have gone before

Sit now

Working, stoic,



Fiddling with their pens


In an effort to find the right words

Or look right

While writing

The words meant to fill

The page and the time.


A woman wearing

North Face,

Facing the window

Speaks loudly about her travels

Every sentence

Some new place

Every description

Some old face

She talks and talks and I wonder

Who she wishes to hear


The her she shares

With those at the table


Filled with he’s

Who listen—

They have no other choice,

To share stories of their own

Is not afforded—

An audience of many

To a line-up

Of one.


A quilted vest across the room

Turquoise in color

Hugs the center of a woman

Gray and wrinkled

Smiling as she gives and takes

With a she whose hair is blond—

Old and young

Combine to share the moment

With a muffin at the center

Polite picking apart

Not too much taken

At any one time

By any one woman—

The art of give and take:



Chocolate chips and

Careful sips.


A man just walked in

He met a girl

She fixed her collar

Flipped her hair—

Her secret is simple:

She was waiting

But made it seem

Like not—

Her waiting there

Anticipating there

Was filled with the papers in front of her hands

But only doodles,

Nothing but google searches

Social media and

Watching the clock on her phone—

A carefully timed dance of

Looking busy and

Hair flipping

And the kind of hello

That projects

Emotional control.


A gentleman with glasses

At the tip of his nose

Two cups of coffee

But he sits alone

Well, not alone,

He is surrounded by Us

Who he cannot hear

Because his earbuds

Sing close

Like a hug around his ears—

His eyes focus down

Never around

He did not come to socialize

He did not come to share his mind

But maybe the space—

Better than being alone.


The brick walls crumble

As this intersection of lives—

The communion of me and the others—

Breathes through the coffee-filled air

Together but

Separate and alone—

Until one of Us says,



copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

Photo Credit: This piece by German artist Miriam Vlaming is entitled, Subground.  160 x 130 cm, Egg tempera on canvas.  Please feel free to further explore Valming’s art at her website and Facebook page: Miriam’s Website , Miriam’s Facebook.