Café Rédemption

There were never many times

where I got it right;

just a few short moments

and the words always seem to fail on my tongue,

or on my fingertips.


Today, I sit in a squalid, messy café,

crumbling sugar into my tea

and sweating out another prayer

to a silent and irreconcilable God.


My curses never meant what they said,

but they were made manifest

with a frightening regularity,

as if drawing from some deep inner bureaucrat;

tenacious, and ruthlessly efficient.


The tea is weak and bitter.

The time is sometime after four o’clock.

Every time someone walks in though the door,

a little bell rings,

an angel gets its wings

and I shudder,

suddenly cold to my marrow.


I am afraid,

that even in this dark corner of the world,

I will be recognized

and my shame could never bear the gaze

of one who knew me

in the time before I was bent

to the haven of addiction.


For I was not always this ragged and disheveled.

Once I held the promise of ten thousand days,

but I was so far gone in my own earthly burdens

that I wandered into a place of hunger and sickness

and drown myself in sorrows

and cut myself with guilt

and gave myself a name

once saved only for the reprobate.


Tears fall,

but the tea is still hot

and the warm vapors conceal my moving lips

as I choke out another supplication

to my Master;

begging for His mercy

and His care.


Every orchestrated downfall

that I have set upon myself,

every word I couldn’t take back,

every thing I couldn’t undo;

I drag before my God for absolution

and wait

for the release

from the weight of chains,

forged in the fires of my self loathing.


The tea is gone

and the specter of my sins

has fled

with the last word from my lips.

I look around to see

the café is flyspecked and decrepit,

the patrons all equally so.

They stare into their cups,

their eyes invariably snared

by some distant trespass.

Almost imperceptibly

and in unison,

they all mouth the same, silent prayer.



whose trials are known only by their God

and to those,

who become addicted to redemption.

We all end up here,

just muttering prayers

and drinking tea;

weak and bitter.


HG – 2017

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