coffee culture
 is becoming too expensive
 even dumps want
 a couple bucks
 and no refills

 I remember when
 the local drugstore
 still had a snack bar
 in the back
 coffee was a dime
 tossed into a cup

 it still is

 and the woman who
 pours it
 black and bitter
 has been there since
 long before espresso
 Air Jordans, and all those
 aspirations to culture
 she wears the
 pink striped uniform
 cuts slabs of peach pie
 lays a slice of pickle
 next to the tuna salad
 and still manages a
 smile when she says
 have a nice day

         -acm  (6/98)