At a Reading by Pat Rosal

Hannah Rousselot ’14

I drank her iced coffee
and knew I was in trouble.

I had already promised my heart
to a man who called me everything
my father didn’t.

I had never liked the taste of coffee before.
It had always reminded me of icy days,
watching my mother and father
argue over which one of them deserves
the most blame. That pungent smell
invaded the room and made me plug up my nose.
I locked up my eyes and concentrated
on my ears so all I could hear
was the microwave beep that meant
I could get my hot chocolate
and leave.

I had never liked the taste of coffee before,
but that day I willed myself to be brave.
Besides, your cerulean eyes
turned it into something
irresistible. I closed my eyes
and drank it, hoping it would kill
the child within me, so I never
have to hear her complaints again.

The new bitter taste
over-stimulated my mouth.
The icy flavor ran down me
and soothed my burning throat.

I drank your iced coffee.
But this, too, was not allowed.

Pat Rosal began to read, and I
handed her coffee back.