Thor Makes Coffee in Vesterbrø

VesterbroJoeandJuice

The barista wasn’t actually called Thor,

though he certainly might have been,

fair but strong Nordic features and

long platinum hair pulled back from

his face, grasping the espresso-machine

handle as if it were the fabled hammer–

godlike in his strength and beauty,

the mythic illusion marred only

by the incongruous sweatshirt

from an American university,

where he’s probably the star

of the rowing team or something.

And the cappuccino was good as well.

 

Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper

Sunshine

My student introduced herself as Sunshine

and wrote in her journal that she had never

lost a friend or family member to death

and was engaged to marry the first and only

boy that she had ever dated, and that,

unlike her classmates, she couldn’t write

about her troubles because she had never

really had any.

 

Reading her observations,

I sat for a moment stunned, wondering

whether to celebrate her fortune or mourn

her lack of life experience, to wish

for her cocoon to hold itself intact or to fear

what might happen when it breaks open

and she discovers that even a butterfly

must take wing into a world of risk.

 

Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper

After the Chocolate Bunny’s Gone, Even the Ears

Late afternoon on Easter Sunday: Downtown’s

as lonely as my living room now that

the celebrations have all ended–the processions

long over, the dishes washed from brunch,

the lilies already beginning their wilt–and I

am cycling around deserted streets under

granite-coloured skies threatening the storms

that come up suddenly in unstable spring;

I’m delaying the necessary return to the old

routine of Sunday-evening fears, drifting

through restless dreams into Monday’s panic.

 

Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper

Plastic Egg

The icicle lights still hanging from the eaves

of my neighbor’s house the week before Easter

tell how we now move from feast to feast

without fast or feria, always in celebration,

never in mourning, repentance, or even reflection.

The fight is not easy against our adversaries,

Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, nor do they

in themselves embody evil; but exaltation

overdone fails us, leaves us empty.

We crack open the plastic egg

and find it empty.

 

Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper