Temporary Cups

A small, strangely philosophical,
badly typeset sign caught my awkward,
afternoon wandering gaze;

“Temporary Cups for temporary people”

yellowed sellotape held it
precariously against the wall above a neat washed row
of permanent staff mugs
emblazened with suggestive slogans, forgotten places, cherished faces;
I was badged with a white plastic disaster
thin enough to scald my veins
recycled like so many desk dwellers
long gone before me.

So easily crushed between finger and thumb
I held it by the rim and looked at my poorly polished shoes;
I thought of my mothers wide, skyward rolling eyes as I
sheepishly stork like balanced
cleaning one foot
on the calf of the other;

I lost my grip and fingerprints on the cup
contents pooled around my unnecessarily cleaned shoes;
I jumped hopscotch sideways
and only one blinked an eye
as I kicked aside my cup and dignity;
my gallows laugh filled “cancer corner”
where all the worlds problems were solved
in twenty minutes chunks
once in the morning and twice after lunch.

With stained shoes I stood surrounded
never feeling so alone;
I started smoking to fit in
and my lungs nearly fell out
I swallowed back smoke and pride
made small talk with little impact
and made comments that left conversational craters;
the outsiders words not ready for the inner circle;
but you, you smiled a wry smile
as I picked up my lungs
and put them back in my chest
I remembered my fragile freelance heart.

© D.Archer May 2012