Cups of Anxiety

by Noelle Giaco



Outside the cafe, the bees do their waggle dance
as I get lost
trying to follow their directions.
Next to my table, vapor escapes another cup of anxiety
to play with the smoke of an old man’s cigarette.
They swirl and dance, as if emulating the bees,
as if trying to explain it to me.
But I still don’t get it.

I never understood what I could not touch.
Games have been unfolding in the most plain,
straight-forward ways
in front of my eyes,
requesting that I just follow the lead.
But I fail.

The pattern emerging from my own cup
is never quite the same,
but it looks so repetitive at each glance
that I should have learned something
by now. The way it rushes out,
telling me not to drink more
of this panic-inducing solution
that seduces me with its obscure
instant gratification.

I wish I could follow the lead at least once,
and release myself from the terror
and disappear into the air,
flowing and vanishing graciously
like vapor,
like this man at table thirteen
who just left excusing himself.

But gravity holds me like I’m heavier than my body.
One more cup, one more failure.
I sink into another coffee.
I’ll never understand him
because I’ll never touch him.
The last cup today,
the last cup at table thirteen.



Photo credit: Author




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