By Kelly McElroy
I may never be able to scrub off
This adolescent coffee haze.
It clings to my hair
And sits in the gaps between my fingers,
No match for shampoo or simple hand soap.
I refuse to leave behind the bells
That sound while the door swings open,
Or the scream of the steaming wand
As too much air rushes into the milk.
Espresso grinds hang onto me
Like grains of sand on wet skin,
Embedded under my clipped fingernails
As if they’ve become a part of me.
My jeans are stained brown.
My hands are stained brown.
My favorite white sneakers are stained brown.
A picture of too much scalding hot coffee
Spilled and splattered over the years.
Each summer I come crawling back.
Back to the easy conversation
Across the counter,
The meaningless talk of weather,
The fishermen sipping their black coffee
And complaining of the tide.