I might be losing my mind,
but does this coffee smell of aftershave?
The barista smells the cup, and then himself.
He apologises and says he’ll make a new one.
She apologises for causing a fuss.
He grabs a fresh cup and holds it underneath
the coffee machine and steps as far away
as his arms allow. He says he doesn’t know
how it happened. The stranger in the queue
imagines losing the strength in his bones,
watching his muscles dissolve, his eyes vanish,
the totality of his organs melting into a perfume.
© Carl Burkitt 2022