Rebecca Macijeski

Death Takes a Coffee Break

For fifteen minutes everything lives.
Lizards sunning their backs on the roofs.
The art professor in a coma. The girl holding
handfuls of berries. Songbirds. Earthworms
gently surfacing after rain. Grandmothers
and their whispering hands. The infinite leaves
wherever the wind rummages through them.

In the coffee shop I listen to the sounds
of suits and shoes, calculators,
the slow hiss of a macchiato being born.
A woman on a cell phone sits beside me.
She tells someone far from here
how she was widowed in February.
That her children are five and eight.

Something about her smooth hands
and the shadows beneath her eyes.
Something about the looseness in her hair,
the way it gathers at the base of her neck
like mine.

I remember her face, her girls� faces.
The way they all looked
that winter morning on Wilcox.
How a man�s heart stopped, but
what I took with me was no longer
a husband or father, and felt to me more
like an empty chest�a place to put things.

When I leave, a sparrow
will fly south from her body
and become a stone, a loosened fist,
a crepe paper lantern,
a hull, a husk,
a softened shoe
turning its heel down the alley.

REBECCA MACIJESKI received her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2011 and is currently a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Nebraska where she serves as an Assistant Editor in Poetry for Hunger Mountain and Prairie Schooner. She is a recipient of a 2012 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize. Some of her recent works in progress were featured as part of Tupelo Press�s 30/30 Project in 2014. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poet Lore, Fairy Tale Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Rappahannock Review, Storyscape, The Salon, Potomac Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Whiskey Island, Fickle Muses, Phantom Drift, Border Crossing, Fourteen Hills, and others.

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