The Bug in the Mug

Thanks to everyone who came out Friday for my reading. The seats were full and the sales were good. Nothing like a hometown crowd.

harmonia axyridisI opened the reading with a new poem, taken directly from the life of a certain middle-aged guy who has the usual issues with saying the “L-word.”

The Bug in the Mug

After sunrise you throw back the quilt
and go naked to make the morning coffee.
That smell that first bursts from beans—ahhh!

While the water filters through you lean against
the window frame, watching robins in the lilacs,
and totally miss the bug, an harmonia axyridis,
that lands in her mug—drawn, like you, to sugar.

You pour and stir; it rises with the swirl—eeew!—
and you spoon it into the trash. But what now?

There’s not enough in the pot to pour fresh, and
not enough time to make another pot. So,
you just pour in the milk and carry the mugs to bed.

She would never have to know, but you would know,
so you hand her your own mug, and hold onto hers.

Seeing her propped against the pillows, the way
the light catches her face, her hair, her breasts—
you want to say “I love you.” But that is the start
of a long conversation and you are late for work.

So you smile instead and say nothing, content
to sip from the mug that once held the bug.

Note: published in “Light Year” 2019 Liberty Street Books

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