Coffee – by Emilio Iasiello

For Maggie


Before you left, I said
you were too beautiful for me.
That much is still true.
The wonder I feel when you sit across
from me sipping coffee
is the same fear that claws up my spine
when I think of you in Guatemala now –
sharing the afternoon light with some guapo
street side, the espresso cup
pressed firmly between your capable fingers –
or maybe
drinking plain ol’ American
with another student
missing his girlfriend as much
as you miss me
a candle flame between you
its small confession in light –
discovering in a mistake of passion
that loneliness
is what’s uncovered with your hands,
its heightened breath on your neck,
a touch or two.
I know it’s foolish
but my life is spent thinking
one day, praying the next.
I stare at the stained ring
in my cup, the bitter grounds
stuck mercilessly to the bottom
and I suddenly think, hot,
black, as if there’s no better way
to torture myself.
When I drink coffee,
I’m really
trading one life for another.




Emilio has written two books: a collection of short stories, Why People do What They Do, and a nonfiction narrative, Chasing the Green. He has also written for the stage and screen and has had numerous works produced in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and London, UK. His film credits can be found here

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