Forget the coffee. We’ll pretend
we’re in a foreign country, and in love.

from “The Road” by Raymond Carver

                                              Forgotten, again, the coffee
pods—used, from your last few or three morning-made mugs—
are here and there, strewn; lewd travesties at a rued near-attention.
Stolidly broadcast and full in the way of any quick-sorted use
of the quaint coffee-bar-breakfast-nook we mutually share
in. Me? Galled, I’ll grimace and bear it, pretend this isn’t
a bother; that there’s near-nothing in my nasty-packed grab-bag
of bad habits that’s ever been close to akin. My skin crawls,
for an instant—an odd moving itch—and I switch: I’ve drunk in
some far-flung foreign state—a country to whose mother tongues
I’m bemusedly ignorant—and all I want is a simply made sandwich:
one I can easily chew and pronounce in my own low-blood-sugared,
quotidian cadence. To be free of everyday effort to swallow,
to fence-post the far limits of things. I just know I want out,
nothing more than to be queued and bone-tired, mind hollowed,
caffeine-cranky at customs, already half-way to gone. It’s a shock
to the system, then, when I’m all-at-once reflexively drawn
to your half-stifled yawn and languid soft steps coming—
a song, shuffled—from the bordering room. I’m aware of you,
unaware, of this us, of this assumed trip we’ve just taken. While you?
You are still home, and in love.

Matt Robinson

Matt Robinson’s new poetry collection "Tangled & Cleft", is forthcoming from Gaspereau Press in Fall 2021. He lives in Halifax, NS, with his family.