Café Noir

February 5, 2017
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I stir my morning coffee
The way one sings his favorite song-
Forgetfully but contently.

As the tiny spoon clinks against the rim,
it chases itself around the cup.
Smudged silver gliding through
black then caramel coffee.

I absentmindedly peer down at my work:
Steam strokes my eyelids shut
It curls around the tips of my lashes,
Tempting to open my curious eyes.

I do not resist.
This time, I focus on my drink.
It's hue reminds me of you.

It's the crooked birch we carved our astrological signs into
Cake we baked for your little brother's kindergarten graduation
Car seat we first kissed on in that ancient pickup truck
Buttons on my crimson chunky knit sweater you loved

And soon I don't just see coffee
milk and sugar.
I see you and feel your arms' embrace.

Your words stumble to the forefront of my thoughts-
The way the smell of smoke stays in clothes
and you become numb to the acrid scent
-and I wonder if they left to begin with.

I feel all of this in my coffee.
My fingers brush the smooth cusp of my favorite mug,
It's warm not hot anymore, still cooling

I place my hands against each side of the mug.
They stay until I feel neither heat nor cold,
By mere touch one would not know
whether my cup was full or not

Yet, the color has not changed.
I stir it once more, praying it will change
Perhaps back to black coffee
Before I tried to make it palatable to my thirsty lips.

I start humming your favorite song
The way one stirs his morning coffee-
Forgetfully but contently.






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