The homeless filter in and out of Starbucks—a motley crew of discarded
Grandes and Ventis who order free ice water, charge their old phones, and
spend an excessive amount of time cleaning up in bathrooms the baristas
frown upon entering because they’re forced to mop what’s left of a mess
from the newest residents. I sit in an uncomfortable wooden chair in the
corner and watch a Netflix show in which a man confined to a wheelchair,
for the first time, faces the man who shot him, paralyzing him from the waist
down and I recall when I sat across from my ex-wife in the coffeeshop and
apologized for every shot I ever fired at her during our marriage, leaving her
paralyzed, herself, because I’m sorry was a bullet she’d never been struck with.
Sometimes humility and forgiveness are the same shade of grace, different hues
of blue that mold into the same background of clouds that weren’t there to hide
your view of a world you thought you had to have, but existed to protect you
from the effects of its harmful rays. Today I think about how I always tell my
girlfriend not to text while she’s driving and she tells me she’s learning how
to navigate my stubbornness, and together we travel down our beautiful open
road of iPhones and irony. The Uber Eats driver picks up an order of lattes and
coffee cake and will deliver them to someone who has chosen convenience over
extra fees, and it’s amazing how advanced technology has made us, the way our
food can be passed directly from provider to driver to consumer which goes to
just how hungry we are.
Daniel Romo is the author of Apologies in Reverse (FutureCycle Press 2019), When Kerosene’s Involved (Mojave River Press, 2014), and Romancing Gravity (Silver Birch Press, 2013). His poetry can be found in The Los Angeles Review, PANK, Barrelhouse, and elsewhere. He has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte, and he is an Associate Poetry Editor at Backbone Press. He lives and teaches in Long Beach, CA.