I collect poems about tea but I’d gladly make a special exception and add this poem about coffee. I love the way the repeated sounds in the poem intertwine and mirror the bird building a nest. The 'miniscule bird / clinging to a twig' making a nest the size of an espresso cup is a bit pathetic, and the speaker of the poem implies they are being a bit pathetic waiting for a certain 'you' in a coffee shop, but with the last line they let themselves off the hook. The poem also reminds me of two of my favourite Emily Dickinson poems, 'Hope is the thing with feathers' and 'I dreaded that first Robin, so'.

I don’t know if Dickinson was a tea or a coffee drinker...

Lorraine Mariner


A minuscule bird
clinging to a twig

is shredding a loop
of knotted string

to a fibre-fuzzy
mist in its bill,

a haze as soft
as cotton wool

with which to line
a nest no bigger

than this small cup
I lift to my lips

while I wait for you
in this little coffee shop

on the avenue,
for such is April.

Self-Portrait in the Dark

'Espresso' by Colette Bryce is published in Self-Portrait in the DarkLorraine Mariner's collections include There Will Be No More Nonsense and Furniture.

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