to our chain coffee joint
six days a week
and parks his Blazer haphazardly
in the only handicapped spot.
The wide-brimmed camouflage fishing hat
atop his long graying hair
is the first feature anyone notices.
A fanny pack wraps his waist
under a parka that's overly warm for the season.
Next to his shameful satchel
a sheath holds a blade
too ominous for an old man to carry.
Its black handle is bordered by a silver pommel
before the descent into six inches of murderous steel
thinly masked by cheap leather.
Perhaps that's part of the fisherman disguise.
I'm never awake enough to solve the mystery
at that hour, before caffeine.
His order's on the counter before he's next in line.
He pays in exact change, grabs a dozen napkins.
Four are spread out at his table near the door--
one in front of every chair
though the other three are empty.
Whom is waiting for?
Do they ever come?
I always leave before the heartbreaking answer.
My truck's running and work is waiting
but not like he is.
"A Man Called Ove" by Fredrik Backman.