Pink Coffee
Dale Michael Houstman

   One dyed hair drugs the skin’s pink coffee and she sleeps. How nice the coffee
and how fresh the mackerel heart in the open-air market of the breast.
The nebulae have stubble tonight, and she watches it drift in the pink coffee,
as does the lion just waking in the backless chair. The lion loves coffee.
She is now on stilts in her kitchen nest, pushing aside rain-dark branches
that hide the gaseous red bed in her kitchen nest;
she is trying to reach the nebulae's stubble razor.
Oh little chick of potash drifting from view upon the gaseous red bed
upon an eddy of the soon-to-be-available tables
and beneath that queer light coming from the blue cupboard.
And she realizes that the river needs a second coat
and then she lights a cigarette.
And there is candy inside the cigarette to replace the stolen jewelry.
She admires the heathens for whom Heaven is safe as cheese,
and when she finally stops falling down the hole she is arrested.
The police send her back in a cheap suit on a train from Kansas
and she arrives at her kitchen nest just as the lion finds the coffee once more.
She tastes cold dry smoke falling from between the blowzy stars.
She submits her burnished face to the suitors
and sometimes she is small enough to be rolled between the fingers;
Life loves the way she prepares breakfast!—the platinum tea,
the plaintive railway toffee, and the plantain eaten outside the Palatine.
Lonely candy. Lonely coffee. Longing lion.
She brushes the nitrogen bubbles from her hair
and they float up through the ache of her wet green rose
to rustle in her eyes like rain-dark branches

and her eyes are copper cups full of the bruises
he draws from her kiss like a coin.
And the lover’s clear voice in the gaseous red bed
is an old Turkish cigarette
that she had once promised herself
then forgot.


from Enfleurage

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