pumpkin spice & tumbleweed by Nicole G. Corrigan

i’m a clerk. just a clerk. some might say i fancy myself a barista. that i fancy too much. that it’s too fancy. not real. a barista, that is. in italy, no one fancies themselves a barista. they are coffee makers. the people who serve you coffee. so i guess some would say i’m that. a server. of coffee. a coffee server.

and here she comes again. this customer, that is. the woman whose words sound like marbles falling from the lips that lost ‘em all. marbles, that is. she fancies herself a tumbleweed. says everyone calls her that. tumbleweed. she says it’s ‘cause she roams where she pleases. like a tumbleweed. the tumbleweed that talks, talks, talks about how mexicans smile more than whites, about they, how they’re just always so grateful. for everything. those mexicans, they’re just so humble, she says. she thinks i am mexican. tells me she’s white. orders a pumpkin spice latte and washes her tumbleweed words back down her throat. then she smiles a thorn-tooth smile. and my smile is broken today. i don’t tell her i once had a tumbleweed in my yard. was scared to death of the scratches it could make across skin. had to reach in sideways just to pick it up and move it. but someday i’ll tell it. this story. i’ll tell it all. about the two times i stood face to face with a tumbleweed.

Nicole G. Corrigan recently graduated from California State University with a Master’s degree in Literature and Writing. As a San Diego transplant, Nicole currently resides in Riverside County where she splits her time between research, writing, and trying to find a few select homes for her poetry.