I want to give up coffee

I want to give up coffee

because the caffeine slinks its way through my network of veins, but my mind rewinds and presses play: the inaugural cup proud on the breakfast tray. I am ten, double digits swear me in to adulthood, right on the handle, left on ceramic heat.

folgers disguised in cream and sugar, caky foundation in three different shades of beige tipped on their sides on a temperamental dresser, my mother shouting, “the bell waits for no one.”

stars pin up the night sky as I walk to a dorm room that spills with perhaps-one-day regrets– I want to be awake to have them after class.

mornings squint into day, the exhaust of a car shuffles me home in a weary heap and then back into the world for another go, there’s a drive-thru lane past every turn.

eyes on eyes, fingers tight around t-shirt fabric, new lovers in a never-swept-clean city, each sip a discovery, each swallow warm and alive like his skin against my chest.

“let’s stop here,” he says beckoning to the styrofoam and cardboard sleeves, slender stirrers he likes to press his teeth on, everywhere we go has a place to score a pour, possibility spread thin like butter on dry toast.

a bottle on the living room floor, the pounding like hammer slam on nails, a foreman I don’t remember hiring, the steam whispering, “this too shall pass.”

forcing my body from supine to standing, the need to smell anything but him like the scramble of fingers for a cigarette: I don’t smoke, but only at weddings.

I sip from a mug that ironically states, “love is here.’

I want to give up coffee

but who would press back into my hands when the lonely night was over?

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