Jackie Langetieg

There is a French woman

who comes each day to the Cafe by my flat. She sits alone,
eyes half closed, lost in thought.

A strong,  pointed face and thin nose, she wears red lipstick
matching the red tips of her fingers—in another age, she
could be a vampire, blood on her lips and hands.

I wonder if she notices me studying her. She smokes,
a cigarillo held tightly in her lips. She gives no indication
that she is aware of any thing but the blue linen tablecloth.
Her hair is hennaed and worn in a dated style.

She dresses in black and pale yellow like a Calico cat I once owned—
I had to call Kitty over and over before she would look my way.

The waiter knows her but does not stop to chat. From a darkened
opening, he appears like a wraith, brings her a blue coffee pot
and white cup circled with gold.

Her suit indicates money, and she wears it with an elegance
only learned in finishing school. I pay my check. She remains.
I fantasize she waits for a rendezvous with a lover who never comes.
Hope mixed with irony that she gives into this weakness of wanting.

Jackie Langetieg

Jackie Langetieg

Jackie is retired and lives in Verona, Wisconsin. White Shoulders was published by Cross+Roads Press in 1999. She received the 1999 Excellence in Poetry award from Wisconsin Academy, Jade Ring from the Wisconsin Regional Writers Association, and co-edited the 2004 Wisconsin Poets Calendar. Her latest book is Terrible Tenderness.