Jan 27, 2013


The room is dim,
lit only by small table lamps and natural light.
Wall art and knick knacks around the room
set a deliberate tone of calm:
even her skirt
is this sort of earthy tapestry
draped across casually crossed legs
as she asks me,

"Do you drink coffee?"

"Light roast or dark roast?"
the barista prompts me,
some folky, mountain music in the background
dragging the dust with its floor-length frock
across the afternoon café ambiance.
I choose the 8 ounce cup,
choose a table facing the window.

My gaze scrolls up
like a shade tugged at quickly
as I return eye contact.
She repeats the question,
“Do you drink coffee?”
She has a miniature rock garden
on a side table in the corner.
I’ve stared at it dozens of times
in previous sessions, yet
it still fascinates me. I try not to look at it,
try not to imagine the satisfaction
of slamming that table to the ground;
the unsettling letdown of hearing all of the stones
thud, only softly,
as they’d sprinkle onto the floor
of my therapist’s office.
“Did you have a cup today?”
rephrases her silhouette,
darkened by the gray light
sweeping in through the window
behind her.

The barista sweeps up crumbs
at the table beside me.
My mostly full mug of coffee
is room temperature, now,
and no longer warms my hands.
I examine the other patrons—
sitting calmly in front of laptops,
crosswords, or company—
wonder how their nerves can rest
so easily; not rage
cabin fever in their chests
like mine do.

My fluttering foot tap
must’ve given me away.
“Though caffeine may help
with clinical depression,
it is often worsens clinical anxiety.
You have both, so it’s tricky,”
she backseat driver reminds me. 
“So I have to choose, then?”
I ask her, irritated.
“Too much energy or none?
A heart that beats too fast
or one that hangs too heavy?”
    “What do you think?”
she cream-or-sugars me.

It is an overcast afternoon,
dressed with soothing tapestry; the sound
of grinding teeth and coffee beans.
My rock garden
of carefully-placed prescription meds
slowly submerges in the stream
of one more refill. 


  1. I'm really impressed by how the scene becomes super-imposed on another scene and so the two scenes exist in one space, without any explanation that that's what's happening. In other drafts, I think that's something to be played with further, but it's working really well here.

  2. On second read, I think you nailed it actually.