Espresso, by Christopher Reid

15 September 2012


Little cup of melancholy,
inch-deep well of the blackest
concentrate of brown,
it comes to your table without ceremony
and stands there shuddering
back to an inner repose.
Pinch it: it’s still hot.

Soon, its mantle of bubbles
clears, but the eye –
all pupil, lustreless –
remains inscrutable.
Rightly so. This is your daily
communion with nothingness,
the nothingness within things.

Not to be sipped, it’s a slug,
a jolt: one mouthful, then gone,
of comforting tarry harshness.
Which you carry now as a pledge
at the tongue’s dead centre,
and the palate’s, blessed
by both the swallowed moment
and its ghost, its stain.


The picture is the espresso I made before posting this. Rather less crema than Reid’s apparently has, but unsurprising given it came from my stovetop and not a constantly used, highly pressured machine, so be it. This is the first time I’ve reposted a ‘Saturday Poem’ from the Guardian, and by including a photo of my own coffee, we’re starting to verge on food blog territory – much more popular than poetry…

[Read at and ripped from]


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