The Artful Dodger Coffeehouse & Cocktail Lounge – Harrisonburg, Virginia

In the middle of a good conversation you feel endless, like the person
right in front of you, like you can go anywhere, like there is nothing but
the moment and your coffee, the cigarettes and the empty ashtrays and
the billowing smoke slowly surrounding your earlobes.

Painting of faces you want to climb inside of. The town square with its
feeble lights, the looming oak tree, the courthouse with pigeons squatting
on garish eaves.

Pink and yellow umbrellas shade the tables on the sidewalk, and the
urban gardens which grow fresh herbs through the dirt in their wooden
boxes attract June bugs, and trucks moving in every direction on roads
around you can be heard from miles away and appear to you and then
disappear simultaneously.

The County Sheriff in his brown uniform halts traffic to escort men across
the street slouching in orange jumpsuits. It is one o’clock, bright as ever,
but you cannot see their faces.

Artists, lawyers, and musicians flock from their jobs to sit at one of the
wiry tables. The artists talk about art. The lawyers talk about other
lawyers. The locals say hello to each other. Even the young college
students inhabit the café.

Even if you’re by yourself you’ll see somebody. In the midst of an
earthquake it’s like an epicenter. It’s where everyone comes and goes.
You can never really go there and be alone.

There is a world outside of you and it is holy. It is an epicenter. It is
right in front of you. It is an epicenter. Wherever you go you will be
loved. You can return there at any moment and be loved. You can still be
loved. You are loved. You can go anywhere and still be loved.

Written by Logan Hill, a Harrisonburg native, HDR volunteer, and a current candidate in the MFA Program for Poets & Writers at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He enjoys the outdoors and is an avid lover and maker of chapbooks.