The Coffeehouse

Steamed milk and cigarettes,
Macbook Pros and Airs,
coffee black and paperbacks,
and lies uttered so politely.

The coffeehouse is where we go
when we need to shed our skins,
to wash away the excess paints
and masks we carry so tightly.

Heartbreak coats the walls and floors,
sadness fills the arid air.
We drape ourselves in trench coats
with pockets of goodbyes whispered lightly.


I thought that this time would be different
That you would at least pretend to care
And you’d see what you were doing was terrible
But I guess I was wrong
I remember it like it was yesterday
That day that CPS came to get us
You were crying
Saying how much you were afraid
Afraid to lose us, your children
We left with the lady that came for us
I looked out the back window
As we drove away
I saw you standing there, alone
I felt sorry for you
We arrived at the little blue house
With the white picket fence
My phone vibrated in my pocket: my mother
“Lie” she said on the other line
“Please just lie”, pleading now
I agreed, remembering your tears
I passed on the message to my brothers
“Just lie, okay?”
They agreed as Mom knew they would
As you knew they would
The room where I was questioned was cold
Two chairs, a table, a whiteboard, a clock
“Do you know the difference
Between the truth and a lie?”
The questioner looked at me with penetrating eyes
I nodded, and the questioning began
They came hard and fast
Like hail on a dark night
“Has he ever abused you?”
“Has he ever abused your brothers?”
“Does he drink?”
“Does he yell at you?”
I shook my head, over and over
It almost seemed too easy to lie
I didn’t think I’d ever regret it
I guess I thought that you’d change
Somehow, you made me believe
That you would be the father I’d wished for
Every night before I fell asleep