The couple at the table beside us
are, no doubt, on a first date.
He’s talking about travel plans – a beach –
she’s quite casually looking at her watch.
More coffee? No, thank you. I’m good.
I went out to feel the equinox.
I raked leaves away from young shoots,
and connected the hose, washed away mud
until the walkway was clear. I wasn’t
gone long, but my coffee was cold.
because it had been a rough night.
Her eyes are blue as heaven’s dome,
staring past me, so I turn around
following her gaze – a child drawing stars –
turn back, and she has miraculously flown.
who wasn’t interested in life and death
talk over our coffee. “Beauty’s the start of terror,”
he said. “that we can hardly bear.”
“One of your poets actually said that.
You adore serene scorn. Every angel’s terrifying.”
The conversation is, in part, from Rilke’s cycle of poems that he called Duino Elegies. They talk about the differences between angels and people, and that human beings are put on earth in order to experience the beauty of ordinary things.
She stirs her coffee like her emotions,
adding sweeteners, sometimes artificial, sometimes quite real.
Cream to soften the bitterness, the bite,
which is what attracted and repelled me.
That burning tongue taste you must have.