Zac Pacleb //Morning coffee
I like to drink my coffee black. Some days, my roommates
leave enough for a full mug; others, maybe a quarter.
I stopped adding milk when I realized a full cup
of half-filler is twice as sad. Often, the coffee is
lukewarm; a quick gulp and I’m on with my day.
At parties I often I have a belly full of beer and
a heart that remains mostly-empty. Normally, that
heart is room-temperature – a practiced, steady
state that rarely boils over. My brain prefers to keep
my heart chilled, my body in bed. On a mellow Arizona
evening, her easy smile reminded my body what it is
like for someone else to build a fire.
I struggled to write about her onto paper;
perhaps my brain and heart have become estranged,
living in the same home but rarely talking
maybe my heart is too young,
too easily riled up. maybe my brain,
in all its wisdom and confusion, chills
that fervent heart, pleading for silence.
maybe they only speak on drunken nights,
maybe that is why I’m a sad drunk-
Every morning, I wake up and wonder how much of me
is there for the day. I decided a while ago that faking
happiness when it isn’t there is twice as sad. Most
days, my coffee-stained smile is lukewarm,
and I’m told it is a refreshing sight against the
fluorescents floating around. A reminder that part of me
there is better than leaving nothing behind at all.
‘Raymond Philip Asaph//When Summer Comes
When summer comes to Long Island again
and wild orange lilies are on the roadsides,
we will ride together in your car or mine
to the south shore beaches or the north shore parks,
or your favorite frozen yogurt place and not fret
about our hypoglycemia or getting fat, because love,
when it’s free, increases the appetite for all things sweet—
and we will not need to speak in whispers any more,
nor worry and about being seen hugging in public
or holding hands, because you will leave him
when summer comes, or by next autumn,
and we will have the love we have at last.
Raymond Philip Asaph’s poetry and fiction have appeared in Poetry, Glimmer Train, Tampa Review, The Humanist, and other journals. His good fortunes include a Stadler undergraduate fellowship to Bucknell University, a Vogelstein grant for poetry, and a graduate fellowship to NYU. He’s the author of Four Short Stories and Ten Love Poems and Entering Meditation Effectively, both available from Amazon. Off the page, he goes by “Phil.” Phil lives on the outskirts of Ithaca, New York, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.