How can her eyes be so bright, so early, My Barista? Does she think of me, at her mirror, as dawn licks away her memory of the night?

She drives a little car, I know, My Barista, good for mileage and maintenance, of course. She's senior, with a parking space, and never late, for all of us depend on her. Where would we be, cop, contractor, the commuters and the rest? Where would we be without My Barista?

I love the way she treats her hair, slashing it—severe, geometrical—whenever it threatens to become more feminine. Were she to let it grow, lustrous, luxurious, shiny as furniture, it might one day eclipse her eyes. Her big blue young intelligent thoughtful smiling eyes.

She is slim, My Barista. Never yet a child, possibly never even yet a man, for she seems to contain no hurt, My Barista.

The day I bought my Leica she came, too, into my life, My Barista, as if to be the First Photo, the one to which all other photos will be compared. I made two of her that morning, but neither captured her completely. No one could ever capture her completely. She's too young, too changeable, too much like water running fresh, never the same, My Barista.

And yet always. There. With her genuine smile, her easy assessment of so many moods. Her voice should be bottled by Starbucks, a specialty drink. She would be all the commercial they'd ever need:

"Grande wet capp?" Like morning birdsong. "Beautiful day, isn't it?"

It is now, My Barista.

They have a rule, they must, about perfume at Starbucks, that nothing should interfere with that holy scent, fresh-ground.

But Clean is unmistakable, and she smells Clean, My Barista. For the briefest moment I conjure the image of what it must be like, to wake to that smell, My Barista, tousled, faint blue veins dancing through eyelids in dreams.

But—My Barista!—such thought is profane. None could possess, contain, such young and simple beauty. I can hardly describe it here, so antic is its essence, so changeable is her becoming.

My Barista.

Her beautifully-muscled arms, the brew, the milk, the silvery dance of preparation is what it is, My Barista. It is our dance, to morning, to possibility, to life.

My Barista.

And as she hands me that drink by which all other drinks are judged, my dark and frothy life-affirming brew, as her slender fingers brush my own, completing the ritual which begins our day, I notice:

A ring. A new and golden all-embracing circle, third finger, left hand. And a new complexity in that diamond smile I have come to love.

But it doesn't matter.

No matter how rich. No matter how handsome. No matter how much in love with her he is,

No man will ever possess—the way I do—

My Barista.

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