At the bookstore café, they’ve installed
a decorative nipple-high wall; a wall of
mahogany and stained oak, a wall
the entire span of the storefront windows.
He wants to like it, wants to appreciate
the warmth and the reddish brownness of it,
wants to appreciate its cozy nookness,
but he’s an inveterate people-watcher
and the wall, after all, is a wall
and does what all walls do.
Most of the patrons seem to have
accepted it, but he notes how quickly
they gravitate toward the high café tables
closest to the almost-walled-off windows,
their long-legged, high-backed chairs
affording them a view over the top.
He discusses the pros and cons with
the barista: she rhapsodizes about
energy efficiency, customer privacy and
comfort, and overall esthetics.
He understands all that; recognizes and
tries to accept the wall’s utility but still…
a wall is a wall is a wall. Dammit.