Chameleon - UBC's Journal of Children's Literature
v 1 n 1
Spring 2003

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Rising Star

by Jill Boettger

Rising Star At the Rising Star Bakery
I order a café au lait,
sit in the window
while the baker shuffles wax paper
and stickies the vinyl countertops
with spoonfuls of cinnamon syrup.
Harlan walks in.
He pretends he doesn't know the place,
surveys the shelves thoughtfully,
finally orders black coffee
and half a dozen honey buns.
In a minute he turns
my way, gives me
this happy surprised look
as if we've never met
but always hoped to.
I smudge my thumb over the gloss
my lips have left on the coffee bowl
while Harlan walks over.
Do I know you?
We play this game
a million times. Every time
a different story: France,
Italy, Spain, I am
the shady local, he is
the romantic vagabond, I am
the beautiful stranger, he is the unworldly farmer.
When we run
into someone we know
the game is over.
But there is always that instant
I forget myself in the dreamlife,
there is always that second
I catch myself
What does he want?
What is he like?
Illustration by Lydia Podobnik      
Read by Jill Boettger       

Chameleon: UBC's Journal of Children's Literature

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