Affogato

I used to drink coffee back when the winters
were long and you could see your breath
after the sun rested at its highest peak.
The wool of my mitts were rough and jagged
like the frost on the back porch window,
but I used to grip them all the same.
That mug you gave me was always chipped
diagonally left. It reminded me of the pyramids
we saw last summer. It was a far cry
from what we were used to. I would take
feathers of snow over pebbles of sand
without a second thought, because some things
are perfect as they are.

The coffee was always bitter, and despite
what you believed, I had no problem with sugar.
But why would I try to fix what is unfixable?
Sometimes the sweetest of sugars burn like
salt anyway. I came to see how we had changed.
Our words were paper cuts and none slid deeper
than yours. To this day I wonder why
we never saw the cracks that separated us.
Perhaps I was distracted by the rabbit and the wonder.
I would always forget, the moment you sang my name
to the tune of the guitar I bought you last spring.
I suppose there are some things you can’t let go of.

I never liked coffee, though I bet you remember
how I loved it. It was a potent addiction
that would keep me up all night struggling,
between the covers, to find some solace,
and yet by the time I drank it, it was already
too cold. There’s frost outside and I cherish it.
Beneath the withering pine, I’m sure you can recall
that one day when I walked out for hours
and crushed the fresh snow beneath my boots.
The mug I was holding shattered against the ice
caked on the driveway. In the end it was simple;
some things are better off being left behind.

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