"table for two, on the patio" by James Thurgood

the joke – that’s what it was

stumbled on my lips

and died convulsing between cream and sugar 

– ever polite, you looked away

and exhaled cigarette smoke

 

the waiter smirked –

only the seagulls laughed

 

then you drew a game of Hangman

   on a napkin

so I could try my luck

 

you knew I’d never guess the word

James Thurgood was born in Nova Scotia, grew up in Windsor, Ontario, and now lives in Calgary, Alberta.  He has been a labourer, musician, and teacher – not necessarily in that order. His poems have appeared in various journals, anthologies, and in a collection (Icemen/Stoneghosts, Penumbra Press).  He is also the author of His Own Misfortune, a work-in-progress.