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My Barista: A Recipe for Disaster

To think of you now is bland,
Like a cup of hot milk, flavored with vanilla and sugar.
I can remember when the recipe
Had a touch of rum, no, more than a touch.
And the recipe was fiery, too, as if a mischievous chef,
Knowing what I liked, had added some cayenne to the sweet mix.
And I seem to remember that it was hot milk with chocolate,
Dark chocolate,
And maybe it was mocha, after all, with all those things
Plus the addition of coffee,
That great symbol of agreement.
Because, you were nothing if not agreeable.
I can’t think why, the last time we were together,
You said, at least if not in words, then in implied tones--
Gray tones, as if at the funeral of a bride and groom
Whom you’d only the day before worn your morning suit for,
Reusing it with a little refurbishing as mourning clothes,
Perhaps an armband of gray only (for you didn’t want to seem actually
Anyway, you requested me to hurry, for you had business elsewhere.
Since it was the last time, why not a little pepper and spice?
Never mind the vanilla, and chocolate, or the coffee,
To even mention rum would have been a sacrilege of the secular kind
At that moment, for you, it seemed.
Sugar? Far from it.
So, just hot milk, then.
But the hot milk was even humdrum, and only a coldish lukewarm.
Angrily you denied a desire to embrace,
Yet, why was that little fillip of foamed milk to be found on your mild
signboard, if you didn’t want it on your lips, too?
Did I ask you to perform as barista that way? And no, and no, and no


I didn’t, even if I would’ve liked one last quaff
For old times’ sake.
So there, then, I think of you now as still tempestuous
And tempered and given to hot temperature, but though sweet,
Now just vanilla, everybody’s view of bland: you stand, revealed.

Victoria Leigh Bennett, (she/her).  Greater Boston, MA area, born WV.  B.A., Cornell University.  M.A. & Ph.D., University of Toronto.  Website: "Come for the shadows, stay for the read."  Print publications:  "Poems from the Northeast," 2021; "Scenes de la Vie Americaine (en Paris)," 2022.  Between Aug. 2021-June 2022 + 1 pub. to be Sept. 2022, Victoria will have published 15 times with:  @olympiapub, @press_roi, @thealienbuddha, @madrigalpress, @LovesDiscretion, @winningwriters, @cultofclio.  Current WIP:  9th Novel/Fiction/Poetry/CNF.  Twitter:  @vicklbennett.  Victoria is disabled.

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