At a small café
in a nondescript row of shops
on Pacific Coast Highway
there is an ill-tempered Frenchman
who is likely to ignore you
insult you
or kick you out
for taking too many napkins
from the dispenser
but still you go back
again and again
for his coffee, made only one way—
dark and bracing, with a
sloosh of cream—
and sometimes
if he’s made them
little almond tarts
with a crisp buttery crust
and moist center