Darling Coffee by Meena Alexander

The periodic pleasure
of small happenings
is upon us—
behind the stalls
at the farmer’s market
snow glinting in heaps,
a cardinal its chest
puffed out, bloodshod
above the piles of awnings,
passion’s proclivities;
you picking up a sweet potato
turning to me ‘This too?’—
query of tenderness
under the blown red wing.
Remember the brazen world?
Let’s find a room
with a window onto elms
strung with sunlight,
a cafe with polished cups,
darling coffee they call it,
may our bed be stoked
with fresh cut rosemary
and glinting thyme,
all herbs in due season
tucked under wild sheets:
fit for the conjugation of joy.

Question Time by Meena Alexander

I remember the scarred spine
Of mountains the moon slips through,
Fox fire in a stump, bushes red with blisters,
Her question, a woman in a sweatshirt,
Hand raised in a crowded room-
What use is poetry?
Above us, lights flickered,
Something wrong with the wiring.
I turned and saw the moon whirl in water,
The Rockies struck with a mauve light,
Sea creatures cut into sky foliage.
In the shadow of a shrub once you and I
Brushed lips and thighs,
Dreamt of a past that frees its prisoners.
Standing apart I looked at her and said-
We have poetry
So we do not die of history.
I had no idea what I meant.