Daniel Romo: “20/20”





When the regular asked how she was doing
the barista replied, Living the dream, before making
his usual drink
and isn’t that what we all do as we rely on
whatever form of faith and familiarity it is that
keeps us moving into the face of
a new day?

I just had my eyes checked for the first time because
I’m at an age where I’ve seen every hurt too clearly
and I want to ensure my vision from here on out
will allow me to recognize the victories in any battles
the younger me would’ve deemed too fatal
to fight.

My face stuffed into a machine transported me
to a world of tiny, tricky letters appearing too small
to be alive
and that’s how I feel sometimes,
overcome by a combination of consonants and vowels
teaming together to create sounds that still echo
amongst memories clanking around in a life
I’ve left behind but will never

Shouldn’t we all aspire to attain the stillness of the barista,
the one who makes the same drinks and repeats the process
in the midst of monotony and minimum wage,
her fears and misgivings swirling around inside each cup
like a never-ending threatening motion
before eventually settling at the bottom
rather than us guessing at a series of blurry symbols in our lives
trying to guess at
what we can’t see?

Her customer leaves and thanks her for his purchase and for
her sense of reverie and the barista says,
I’ll keep it as long as I can
and the optometrist says I’ll need reading glasses
in the next few years,
both of us making out all that is in front of us
the way we want to see it
whether in the distance,
or right under our noses.


About the Author: Daniel Romo is the author of Apologies in Reverse (FutureCycle Press 2019), When Kerosene’s Involved (Mojave River Press, 2014), and Romancing Gravity (Silver Birch Press, 2013). His poetry can be found in The Los Angeles Review, PANK, Barrelhouse, and elsewhere. He has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte, and he is an Associate Poetry Editor at Backbone Press. He lives and teaches in Long Beach, CA.


More by Daniel Romo:

The Main Event


Image Credit: Conrad Poirier “Paul Legendre looks in a sextant” (1944) Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

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