Milk pouring in cup of coffee.

as we made to leave the bagelry

Monday, November 14, 2022

[Third place winner in the Synapse Storytelling Contest poetry category.]

we moved through the sentence

of the crowd, its fork-plate Sunday

morning music, its underfoot

cacophony of napkins, its endless

clauses and the punctuation

of downtown, its traffic shrieks, its crinkling

white wrapping paper, its

pies and parentheticals, its

beginning ending sounds of meals and

hours, its crowds, its rush of people through its

doors, its staple

crunchings, its

contradictions, its slow

drifting and us with it to its

last key points, the plates and

hands and steps we’d been

anticipating, until we passed

the half-and-half

standing patiently in its carafe

and stopped for milk


and I poured and turned toward

the doors all sunshine

bright and singing swinging with

the people coming in

them from the street and I could feel

new sentences beginning, new shoes

traveling like underlines

beneath them and the building and

beginning of the paragraph, its dense

thicket of argument, and more space opening

behind the semicolon that really should

have been a period, and more cars

parking, and more hours

of the day to fill with

words and sounds,

and I made to leave

the bagelry (outside

of which everything

was waiting) when you said: wait

watch the half-and-half

traverse the glass


and (you

were marvelously right) so

I did