Sweet Little Lies - Shaista Tayabali

You buy cupcakes with your cappuccino
and the barista asks after your love life.

You play dumb and ask after his
(you overheard him and his friend -
the coffee drinker before you -
discussing how she played him).

He breaks it down scene by scene -
(how he went to her birthday and
bought her Millie's Cookies and everything
but then she never bothered
to show up to his
after he took her out to lunch
and paid and everything).

And then he turns to you, till rung up,
and chatting, about the single scene,
as though I might be prowling
and buying cupcakes
in exchange for dates,
might just be my thing.

I deflect, and pick my way
over to a solitary table
and scald my tongue
on the first bitter sip
before the chocolate lacing soothes it.

What if I told him the reason I was single?
That my body was a battlefield
and my flesh destined for needles
and my eyes a network of scar tissue
and how pain can become the glue?

But later, when two girls come by
and I hear them giggling together
I trace the tip of vanilla butterfly wings
and drench my tongue in lemon curd
and let the chocolate orange sing to me

and be glad the only thing he heard
was that I was free.

- - -

Shaista Tayabali aims to one day be the poet laureate of hospitals. Not because she loves hospitals but because poetry makes beauty in strange places. She has just completed her MA in Creative Writing at Anglia Ruskin Univeristy and is trying to commit to the longer disciplines of a memoir and a novel. She writes a blog at www.lupusinflight.com.