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Advertisement For a Coffee Shop -- poetry by Anni Willes

You have nothing left to lose,

So pull yourself from the hungry mouth of your desolation

And come inside.

It’s warm, and the wifi’s free,

And though you can’t quite escape the frantic tremor of your hands,

Surely the caffeine will help to ease the ache of your eyes.

We’re open late, and we know you don’t want to go back home.

We know that home is a foreign world to you now—

We know that the eyes on your walls follow you

Wherever you go in the confines of your room.

You’ll be able to breathe again once they’re not watching.

The chatter keeps you grounded—

We know how much you hate the silence.

You came here for the first time with friends you don’t speak with anymore,

And though you can’t quite separate this room from its memories,

Its presence in your life is more certain than the rhythm of the heart in your chest.

You know this place, and it knows you.

You know which chairs wobble on their legs and which stand firm,

And in turn, it knows of the grief 

That crushes your windpipe and rattles your eyelids.

You’re afraid that you infect everything you touch

With a sick sense of melancholy,

But the cup in your hand is warm

And the tables are full.

If your eyes slip shut for a moment,

You can feel beside you the presence of people long gone.

It’s too much to bear, so you open your eyes

And take a sip of your drink,

Letting it burn your tongue.


Anni Willes is currently a senior at The Waterford School in Salt Lake City, Utah, and she plans to study Psychology at Westminster University next year. She has taken several creative writing and poetry classes throughout high school. Her poetry has appeared in her school’s literary magazine and has been awarded a Scholastic Silver Key for her work.

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