We Leave Our Bodies Home and Meet for Coffee by Francine Witte

Easier than lugging our flesh around or the inconvenience of bones. Besides, this way I can know once and for all that you love what’s inside of me, the way you always say. 

I get to the diner before you and sit in a corner booth. The waitress doesn’t see me and so doesn’t bring a menu. Which is fine. Without a stomach, there’s not much point. 

When you come in, I know you by the dust around you forming an outline, like a chalk marker on a murder spot. I call you over and heads turn.  The waitress comes over with a menu. “Didn’t know you were there,” she says like this happens every day. 

You sit down and the dust outline dissolves back into the air. “You there?” I ask.

You mumble yes, like you do even when you have a mouth to say more. 

“You’d be surprised how often this happens,” the waitress says and I wonder how this is possible.

“It’s possible” she says like she can hear my thoughts, “because people get lazy and bodies get sick.” She picks up the menus. “And yes,” she says, “without your head to hold them in, your thoughts are flying all over the place.”

I look at you, hoping that’s not true at all. That you can’t hear me thinking that I wonder if you still even love me, inside or out.                                                                      

“Oh, he hears you,” the waitress says. “We all do. Thing is he’s not listening”

“Can you hear what he’s thinking?” I ask.     

“I don’t think he’s thinking much,” she says. “In fact, I’m pretty sure he left.”

The waitress disappears with the menus.  I look at the air where you were just moments ago. I don’t know for sure that you’re gone. But then again, it’s hard to know that even when I can see you, body and all, sitting right there in front of me. 

Francine Witte’s poetry and fiction have appeared in Smokelong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Mid-American Review, Passages North, and many others. Her latest books are Dressed All Wrong for This (Blue Light Press,) The Way of the Wind (AdHoc fiction,) and (The Theory of Flesh.) Her chapbook, The Cake, The Smoke, The Moon (flash fiction) will be published by ELJ September, 2021. She lives in NYC. 

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