waiting at a café 

Katherine Russell

macaron like a kiss, your

pillow pair of lips, like

a sweet ditty from a finch 

on the sill, the music 

that writes itself

in our world: the off-rhythm

of natural rhythm, the terrible

timing of everything,

like car horns in rainstorms

ripping through the quiet South,

where the heat

opens its mouth

to catch us like swill.


what will we do

to rid a fever with an ice cube,

a hard swallow, a forgetting

again and again—


did chaos make our timing,

or did time make the chaos?

maybe we were supposed to meet

at 4 o’clock another decade,

not a few years after my wedding, not

before i’d given up or during indecision; now,

here’s a cookie to remember hunger 

and the icing is thinning

so hurry, hurry into the rain rhythm;

our sins depend on it


because the sugar is melting

off our plate whether or not

you care how delicate

joy is, how perfect it tastes

when it first meets our tongues.

Katherine Russell is the author of four published books, including a collection of poems on coming of age with cystic fibrosis titled Shapes of Water. Other poems of hers have appeared in Cold Mountain Review and Silver Needle Press. She maintains a blog at www.katherinekeepswriting.com.

©2018 HighShelfPress. 

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