Power Dynamics

those blue eyes pierced me

the second I stepped in

to the cafe

I saw your lanky frame

clad in black, laptop on your lap

I glide over,

my stomach leaping,

and say hi.

i can tell

that you can tell

something is not quite right – off.

I see it in your eyes,

a question.


your voice is so smooth. i almost forgot.


my mind is wafting like

coffee beans roasting

caffeine high in my brain

my thoughts whir

like the espresso machine nearby

oh my god. can he tell?

I’m high as fuck.

his face scans mine

the full veneer;

makeup dusting from my cheeks,

eyes caked with powder,

pink lipstick —

oh, I knew it was too much!

my mask cracks,

just for a second, but

you saw through it,

I know you did.


we start talking,

classes, the weekend, dah dah;

you ask a question,

swirling thoughts swoop through

my brain and i lose focus…

i pause,


too long

i crack a smile, awkward

my hands fly to my mouth

fingers clutching my cheeks

oh god, I say

I’m sorry

I giggle

oh god, I giggle


I grin again – shameless

but, really, I’m so ashamed

I have to be honest with you, I say

and out it flows, the truth a garbled rush:

I keep thinking about the last time we met, have you?

          I was excited to see you again, and also kind of nervous,

                    and, I gotta be honest

                              I’m kind of high right now,

                                        he he

way too much comes out

right there

in the middle of that coffeeshop.

his face is chiseled stone.

immediately, he says

“you have to be high to see me?”

my stomach collapses

no no, I say,

oh god no.

but inside, it feels kind of true

i was excited for this,

so excited,

that i took it to the next level,

and this is the jittery aftermath.

I try to explain;

I’m just celebrating…..


the weekend, being done with my project,

I say quickly

oh god, oh god, oh god

he says nothing

just stares.

was is a joke?

a dry humor?

a tease? I cannot tell.

i replay this moment over

and over

and over

in my head.

what must i look like to him right now?

we keep talking,

i try to connect the dots,

to take it easy,

breathe. I force my eyes to stay,

my lips to rest —



we talk about reading faces

how ironic

a few more times, my eyes crack

my mouth twitches,

and he catches it,

never looking away,

he reads it all.


his humor is dry,

his hair is grey blonde

his voice is calm water

a trickling stream

a lilt of Europe

on his tongue

lips full, full, full, they take up so much of his face

pools collect in his eyes

crisp, cool, impenetrable


i order some food

bananas and kale,

stable vitamins;

just what my body needs

to counteract the crazy

coursing through

my veins.

slowly, I start to come down

calming down,

we talk some more,

about traveling, meeting people, the art of conversation;

books, and new technologies, the people in our class…

i like talking to him?

every now and then,

another spasm flickers across my face

but the one i manage to hide

is a question I keep locked away

though it buzzes round my brain:

who are you?

my mind is an open book.

i want to read his so bad.

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