George & Davis’ Coffee, Oxford, 1996

A blue scarf can’t cover the hickey exploding

eggplant across my neck – and when I haven’t met

his eye in days, not able to shake the snakes


from my face when I see him, he invites me

for coffee. It will only get worse if I delay –

he persists, coiling like acid


in my stomach. When we meet,

he’s bewildered by my apathy,

clutches his love for me. I’m an argument


he thinks he can win – how a body

can be got and once gotten,

the heart with it. But I only said ‘yes’


because you say ‘yes’ when you are oceans away

from home and he has already started anyway –


His fingers coddle his cup of tea, as if

they’re delicate, not strong enough

to bruise. I cord out the words:


we’re better as friends. Any explanation

but the real one. He tells me I’m confused,

will surely come around.


He is patient.

I stare at the bagel by his elbow, his wiry

body still grunting in my head.


I crave the exit

that doesn’t come and never comes

even when we walk out the door.

Rebecca Connors received her BA in English from Boston University. After living in multiple cities, she is happily settled with her family in Boston, where she writes poetry and hangs out with ghosts. Her poems can be found in DIALOGIST, The Knicknackery, Menacing Hedge, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She is currently working on her first chapbook. Follow her on Twitter @aprilist or visit her site at