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146th Weekly Poetry Contest honorable mention: Payer le café

by Lee Nash

I took a lover the color of coffee,

a red wine stain on his neck,

who gathered girolles in the forest,

butchered boar, brought home fresh black bass

and drank Ricard with grenadine and ice.


Reeled in I was, as he could cook

a mushroom omelet to perfection,

would never leave a lightbulb on,

replaced the lids of felt-tip pens and taught me

words I didn't know: déboussolé,


which means de-compassed, lost, the needle

flitting nervously to find its north.

Rebellious, I rejected this lodestone,

repelled the animal magnetism

(in search of my lodestar),


because it's the little things that

drive you mad. The way he’d inch his chair

in my direction: I would smile

(still looking for affection) yet inwardly

cringe and shout – give me some bloody space!


Heavy, but he got the message,

packed the suitcase not so long unpacked,

took his parfum de dimanche and comb,

searched the wardrobe for his short-sleeve shirts,

and left. Je vais te payer le café.



(First published in Sentinel Literary Quarterly, 4 February 2016.)

146th Weekly Poetry Contest