At Starbucks, I Cut in Front of Ming Tsai
by Sonja Johanson

Fifteen minutes until class
And a ten minute line at Starbucks.
But I am not teaching for six hours without caffeine,
So I huff, stamp, and fret, but queue up.
Check email on my iPad, drum my anxious fingers.
One mother, toddler in tow, can’t choose a pastry.
The woman before me gets cappuccinos for her whole office.
Finally, I can order my triple grande soy latte
One pump mocha, one pump mint, extra hot,
No whip, no foam (yes, I’m that complicated)
Only to find out my gold card is fifteen cents short.
So I run to the car, get some change, run back,
Rush to the counter, thrust the coins forward.
Then I look up, to apologize to the man I jumped in front of.
I recognize the even features, the camera-ready face,
And he recognizes the look of being recognized.
We stand, awkwardly, side by side,
Waiting for the barista to finish our drinks.

Sonja Johanson serves as the training coordinator for the Massachusetts Master Gardener Association. She has recent work appearing in the Albatross Poetry Journal and Shot Glass Poetry Journal. She divides her time between work in Massachusetts and her home in the mountains of western Maine.

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