Erika Encore


1. Erika Prepared

Think of erika late at night,
a felt-tip of lipstick red
in a grip to sign her name
on napkins she has no need to
fold, ready-made from the
diner where her breakfast shift
begins by carefully placing it
with hand-drawn hearts
before someone. And they’ve
been caught – not out – but within
its tender eliciting charm,
too soon to be pondering,
as they are now, her preparations
made to casually disarm.

2. Erika Serving Breakfast

If you happen upon
and open the notepad

taken on holiday to
write plans and poetry –

coming across that napkin
with her name –

do not imagine it is more
than a simple thing,

seeming exotic
or suggestive because

you didn’t expect, like the
words bloc steno or

bloc de éspiral, even
spiraalnotablok, because

these too are only language
for the everyday and plain.

Look closely in the
corner and note its

imprint of a coffee stain
that had perhaps

spilt from a breakfast cup
and was wiped to clean.

The hearts? Lipstick?
Imagine Erika late at night,

a pile of these and
signing with red felt,

hoping a tissue of such
tenderness will prompt a tip.

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