stevens

Wallace Stevens

    I.

    Among twenty Starbucks patrons

    The only moving thing

    Was the steam from the coffee.

    II.

    The barista was of three minds

    Like an order

    In which there are three coffees.

    III.

    The coffee steam whirled in the autumn winds.

    It was a small part of the order.

    IV.

    A barista and a poet

    Are one.

    A barista, a poet, and a coffee black

    Are one.

    V.

    The barista did not know which to prefer

    The beauty of lattes

    Or the beauty of cappuccinos

    The espresso machine whistling

    Or just after.

    VI.

    Icicles filled the Starbucks window

    With barbaric glass.

    The shadow of the poet

    Crossed it, to and fro.

    His mood

    Traced in the shadow

    An indecipherable order.

    VII.

    O thin patrons of Starbucks,

    Why do you imagine eggnog lattes?

    Do you not see how the coffee black

    Waits on the counter

    Of the baristas before you?

    VIII.

    The barista knows unpronounceable names

    And complicated spellings

    But she knows, too,

    That the coffee black is involved

    In what she knows.

    IX.

    When the coffee was placed on the counter

    It marked the edge

    Of one of many counters.

    X.

    At the sight of coffee blacks

    Backlit by the green logo

    Even the baristas of Starbucks

    Would inhale sharply.

    XI.

    He came to Starbucks from Connecticut

    Through the glass door.

    Once, a fear pierced him

    In that he mistook

    Someone else’s drink

    For his own.

    XII.

    The machine is moving.

    The coffee must be brewing.

    XIII.

    It was evening all afternoon.

    It was snowing

    And it was going to snow.

    The coffee black sat

    In the hands of Wallace Stevens.