When I tell her that my late partner’s dying wish for me
was to find another great love, she asks, without
hesitation, why she should care what Susan wanted.
My overflows of adoration and tenderness feel to her
like love for someone else sloshing around inside me,
love I can no longer carry and need someplace to pour.
She does not want my old spills. I must drain the tank,
just can’t imagine dwindling back to life as a trough
of casual snow melt and the passing squall. I try again,
tell her love is love. Like water is water. She says no, love
is specific. And what she drinks is coffee, shade-grown,
slow-roasted, serving not thirst but hunger. Where, now,
to source the potion through which she’s inviting me
to wake. I conjure my mother, staring off, a cup of Nescafé
her sole delight. And I, with a mere bowl of Wheaties,
called to witness the liquid succor only she could have.
What I could have was the smell of it, piquant, turbid,
from another country. I admit to my new love knowing so
little of this brew, certainly not how to make the real thing.
She will teach me. All it takes is a grinder, a filter, beans
unrinsed by regret, water with the sentiment boiled away.
Ken Haas lives in San Francisco where he works in healthcare and sponsors a poetry writing workshop at UCSF Children’s Hospital. His first book, Borrowed Light, won the 2020 Red Mountain Press Discovery Award, as well as a 2021 prize from the National Federation of Press Women. Ken has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has won the Betsy Colquitt Poetry Award. His poems have appeared in over 50 journals and numerous anthologies.