When he told me, “I read all of your poems
before drinking my morning coffee,”
I knew he was smitten. Each morning,
he had cups and cups, always dark-roast.
He’d get out of bed before me
to grind the beans finer than silt. The water ran
in the shower; the coffee gurgled and trickled
from its reservoir. His blue eyes
widened the first time he saw me
dump one, two, three teaspoons of sugar
in my mug before I raised it to my lips. And so
I bought a coffeemaker for my own apartment.
He’d step out of the bathroom,
towel around his waist, and walk out
to the kitchen, returning with mug in hand,
sipping in between towel-drying his hair,
stepping into his khakis, brushing his teeth.
Sometimes I’d sneak a few sips, just to taste
the rich bitterness, making my own cup
seem even sweeter. More
than the notes tucked around my apartment,
written in his favorite fine-point red pen,
more than the nights I drifted into sleep
with my head on his chest and his arm
around me, what I missed most of all when it ended
was the grinder’s buzz, the coffeemaker’s gurgle;
the tips of his hair still wet and spiky,
the sight of him standing in front of my dresser,
face soothed with first swallow. Now
I take my coffee with a single sugar cube,
square of sweet soon dissolved
in the bitter.