The last confusion of growing up
or first conceit of adulthood
specialty of niche within social group
sport, literature, IT, travel.
Find a vacancy
become the group expert – non-curricular only.
I used to say I was a food slut
that I liked to eat around
it became a mission to find new cafes – first
to rate and recommend
to obtain recognition for expertise.
It was a nondescript place in an unimaginative suburb
opinion went in to sneer
condescension : the critic’s reliable cover.
Respect. Instant. Good. Very good.
Themed 1960s Italian cool
scruffy and hip
might get lucky lighting
testosterone coffee. Impossible to say no baking.
From the cash register she conducts the kitchen
slim and dark
cheerful, precisely the right tone and volume
the owner – no doubt.
Snatches of chords tease memory
scattered memos never filed
years of itinerancy so many people met – and not again
strangers who never became acquaintance.
Detour regularly visits for coffee and pastry
graphite afternoon steps into brightness
noise, tradesmen, expansion
ambience banished by full glare
the owner unbotoxed by shadow.
she knew. And I knew.
“Thank you for attending…..”
She was desperate for the job
I continue to come by
she continued to be pleased to see me.
Both pretended we didn’t know.
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