Fall 2008, Volume 5

Poetry by Toshiaki Komura

From the Window Table, at a Café

I order a BLT
without lettuce. The waitress
says that would be a BT—I say
I just don't like lettuce:
its middling taste or smell, hardly strong
enough to detest, but somehow I
cannot help myself. Morning—
the clouds patch and break: hardly
nasty enough weather to detest,
but I look down. A swarming city—
a city gorged in dreams, chased
out of casual strollers in the rush hour
dancing across black and shoreless
asphalts. And out of nowhere
my eyes come to focus on
a mid-age office worker in suits
the color of clouds. He isn't broken.
He looks just like another, is
hardly worth paying attention to, except that
I see another just like him—the same eyes,
the beards, the suits. About
the same age, like identical
twins, plodding fraternally toward someplace
not here. The waitress brings a BLT that smells
nothing: the lettuce
inside. I turn away—
the same office workers in suits, imminent
multitudes, newborns every
minute, like eternal life, like apparitions—
and distressed, I run my hand through my hair
and it has no smell: nausea.

BIO:  "I completed the MFA degree at Cornell University in 2002, and am presently working toward a Ph.D. in English Literature at University of Michigan. My work has appeared or been accepted for publication in literary journals such as Contemporary Rhyme, Evansville Review, River Oak Review, Sycamore Review, Willow Review, among others."