Coffee rings overlapping one atop the other
marking the table which carefully held mugs
that flowered hearts once flowed into.
The many great plans and pains
those rings retained as they worked
their way deeper into the wooden grain
of that polished sawn flat yet well-worn plain.
The lives of couples plans for days ahead
as they spoke of love one to the other.
The many napkin mapped ideas
of many a positive merry businessman
using everything from cartridge
to counter borrowed ball point pens.
All the great groups of plans
to find a way to grow rich enough
to comfortably retire with money enough put away
long before the infirm time of riding
to days of their getting too old, bald and gray
as earners providing for families at their side.
More than plans passed those coffee stain rings
had been traded over that worn lacquered wooden surface
that if only it could talk about the great many days
with its plenty happy sad story; what a song it could sing.
The tales of love and hate, wars, death and fate;
the off color comments few condemned as cold,
because they were inside jokes that laid more than few
in laughter prostrate as they gathered as friends.
over a tabletop that grew new to old toward its own end.
As time passed without the table
having anything to ask or say
about holding many a friendly game
where pals squared off to play
using the well-worn with some corners torn
deck of cards honestly dealing
(except in euchre
where it’s only cheating
if you get caught deal stealing.)
The many teenage dramas seen
that in the end their meaning
meant little more than nothing.
But at the time were so terror fraught
that the young were certain life was ending.
They too laughed and cried real heartbroken tears,
their fears just as real as the spent older couples
who shared scalding hot cups of joe there
who knew that time was stealing from them
the hard earned fair share, that as they aged
and broke down as government was taking from them
all they worked for, all they struggled to save.
Yes if that old table, varnish cracked and mellowed
with its multiple permanent coffee mug ring stains
could talk the many stories it could tell all
the sat down at people stories ghostly remains
of everything it had earned and knowledge learned.
But no one paid it any mind
as it gathered the dust from lives collected
from the passing history of time
and no one who noticed or complained
when that thing was broken apart and discarded.
As it was replaced without regard
by an easier to clean Ikea plastic slick topped
piece of furniture which with every wipe
the history that had just happened there
marked in stains was simply with a wet cloth
wiped away and rinsed down the drain.
© M Durfee