Coffee Break

Prompt: “Coffee Break,” by Kwame Dawes

When my father had his stroke he held our hands tightly and squeezed—the only words he had were words of touch. I said the Lord's Prayer for him, though I had been a Buddhist for many years already then, and his squeeze said thank you. I did not want him to go—we never want them to go—and I did not want him to go alone. So I made sure I was always there when people needed to go home to rest or to eat. On the second day he could no longer respond, but I talked to him anyway and if he were alone I held his hand and sang to him. But in the third day it came to me strongly that I should leave the room. I walked down the stairs and stood among some trees by the river. When I came back, his body was still. And I thought, my father has always taken care of us. He would not go while I sat there asking him to stay.


            “the balloons sat lightly on his still lap”
                                   Kwame Dawes “Coffee Break”

A globe of air
sits lightly on the lap of a man
a man of air

his lungs, his blood charged with air
air filling the body
making the cells

the bones, the eyes, the nails
all of him air
and around him air.

If a breeze came in the open door
it would lift the balloon
spiral it onto the floor and out

as the man who has let go of the balloon
lets go of his lungs and bones and hair
and lifts

held so lightly
letting go so lightly
over the sill and out.

Sarah Webb, 1-20-15


Coffee Break

Going down slow.
One friend meets me for coffee no more.
The cleaning lady will not be coming.
She's waiting in ICU for a husband
who is bouncing downhill hard,
off the breakfast stool, crumpled
in the driveway, and now she waits,
cold coffee in hand.

—Jeffery Taylor


No way, José!
Is life
this short?

Yesterday I had
my yearly checkup
with the eye doc.

And then
had the next one.

I don't think
we had aged, either
he nor I.

The balloon man
waited for coffee,
and it was too late.

First time I read it as
he'd skipped out, which
I guess he did,

in his own way,
leaving his balloons
on his still chair.

Was his lap his lap?
Does condensed or cow's milk
even matter.

In retrospect,
we'd do
things so differently.

Much differently!

I did something
almost 50 years ago.

If only I could go
back in a
time machine,

slightly wiser,
and make some
better choices.

What was I
Or was I?

It would have
been so easy just to
choose cow's milk.

Who would complain?

I could have just thought
a little of the consequences
of my actions.

Or, to save a dime,
I wrote instead of called...
and it was too late.

When you are on
a speeding train,
it doesn't take long to be late.

The eye doc said,
which is better,
a or b, and I'd blink,

and ask him
to show me a and b
over and over again.

Life is that
Isn't it?

Kim Mosley

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