Monologue from a Cup of Coffee in Edward Hopper’s Painting
I’m here for the man who comes every night, always late, always alone. He sits on the same stool at the counter, back to the plate glass window, walls casting a jaundiced glow. He lifts me in the air, black waves rippling, steam rising. His grip is tight, his sipping slow as he presses me to his lips, so close I hear whispers of regret— no company for him tonight; not the waiter cleaning up or the red-headed girl pondering a book of matches or the man next to her with a hawkish beak and cigarette unlit. The couple’s hands are nearly touching but, not quite. A scene so bleak my patron sets me on the counter, reaches for the sugar and pours an avalanche on the slopes of despair, drowns darkness in heavy cream, clangs a counterclockwise spoon against my sides. I beg, make him stop! and offer an invocation from the bottom of my cup: Let this man in the steel blue hat find solace in this diner, redemption in this milky broth.
Morgan Ray was born in Utah. She lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for four decades then returned to Salt Lake City just in time to witness the impending environmental disaster of the disappearing Great Salt Lake. She lives near Emigration Gap, a split in the mountains where pioneers entered the valley. She’s sure she would have been a lousy pioneer, questioning the authority of anyone who thought it was a smart idea to settle next to a salty lake. She has two poems about to be published by Dos Gatos Press in, Unknotting the Line: The Poetry in Prose and is about to release her second book, Unsolicited Greetings, a collection of post card poems.
5/22/2023 11:59:03 am
Morgan, I loved reading of loneliness and despair
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