365 Poems – 186 Coffee First Thing (Rough First Draft)


Coffee First Thing

Would you please unbuckle my limbs?

I want to ask. I dread to think

what I look like to you.


Meeting for coffee, early morning,

I didn’t want to say that I’m

not yet born again. I’m still crabby,

like a baby who still wants the womb.


You order espresso. It’s what

men drink. I order the one with

the most milk.


You make another circle around

our table, muttering about

napkins, sugar, sweetener.


I tap fine, sweet white powder,

afraid what you’ll think

if I tell you I’ve been off it

for three months and four days.


That would be a signpost for

my madness, and the exchange

would turn, and become difficult,

like walking uphill in the wind.


I’d quite like you to be stroking

the top of my thigh. I’d like clear,

short, beautiful moments, where

we don’t talk, just go straight over

each others bodies, like silk scarves

across and under the wheels of a car.


It’s you who stammers first,

direct your body away from me.


It’s you who makes for the door,

espresso dark, untouched,

stinking in its tiny cup.


I find you crouching, outside,

your back against the coffee bean

stencils on the window.


My bravery, you mutter

shrunk to the size of a pin head.