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Thoughts Over Coffee at 4PM

By Caledfwlch All Rights Reserved ©


Chapter 1

I remembered last night

Unbidden, an image


Unwelcome, but needed.

The image must flash in your mind as it does in mine

From where you knelt on the cold linoleum

Voice cold, hands cold,

Dying flesh.

It didn’t hurt.

Didn’t hurt until they took their searing,

          Burned the shape in like still lips

Brand me.

It didn’t hurt— I remember

The peer of my flesh, bloodless,

Like rows of little white teeth.

I thought nothing.

Then, the scarlet

          Like ruby, like pomegranate, the handle, the text

          — no.

Just red.

Red everywhere.

How many months has it been,

And why did I tell you?

It screams from the streetlights, the cafés, my ribcage,

And calling back to


          A mistake, a slip

          of silver.

There is terror in my skin.

Cold skin you touch, limp fish’s skin.

You are distant. I am awash

In the whips of the silver sand, hidden

          In a quiet nook

          I’ve familiarized with me.

                    The terror of hiding, the terror of emerging,

The terror

Of the palm of your hand

And the taste of coffee

And my silver skin.

She bought me coffee

With a splash of milk and candor

And a gentle push towards the book.

Iron hands

Wrapped my shoulders, pushed

          My head down, eyes weak. (It didn’t hurt.)

Now, I blink

Wondering what has become

Of the amusement we once shared

In our hollows.

Your voice was cold, and

          Harsh, biting

          Palm slapped steering wheel

          Desperate, desperate:


— I taste coffee.

There are things I cannot address, and I apologize;

But I know the value of short sleeves and the price they demand.

Last night, I remembered

          Sudden, soft:

This is not the Whiskey Rebellion.

I’m no Revolutionary.

This is just whiskey, and the places where

It burns in my nails are searing.

I’d scrub it out

And scoop my stomach

If I thought it meant

I’d be rid of the cold.

But my mouth and hands are all stained silver, and I am left

With sand rushing past me

And the coldness of your voice


How may I break it to you kindly that I only see myself in the reflection of a blade?

          My reflection on your teeth smiles,

Opens its maw. I gaze in at it, wondering

At the marionette strings still hooked in my ribcage.

’Cause healing feels just like bleeding out, and

Why I can’t forget confounds me.

          You do not.

The confusion around you swirls in

And rests at a point on your head.

          Golden eyes, golden hair.

One day, your thighs will stop sprouting fingers,

And I will taste coffee without tasting blood.

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Further Recommendations

CalvinPeat: This is a great concept, and you've done a largely excellent job of capturing the voice of Mal.You convey Mal's inner struggle well. Perhaps, though, you could reflect the hope in verses 13-17 of Psalm 90 a bit more. A suggestion: in the current version, Mal seems to be losing hope in the idea of...

Barbara Ivusic: I really loved this poem. Perfect use of imagery to outline the digital age. I loved the image of the olive branch and how it is posted for all to see but no one can touch it. Everything you describe is so true that it has become common knowledge yet no one acknowledges it anymore. I look forward...

DanaStan: Paints warm, cozy scenes that drew me in and made me want to stop and rest awhile. Very minimalist, yet flowing language. Really nice work! I would love a whole poetry book of these, they are very human and touching.

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