April 9, 2013
Smelling the Coffee

His eyes refused to water. His heart dead

at the roots, stubborn like his father, cold

& gone now.  The men in his family head

households of slow-brewed women: coffee bold

black like the cup he orders with no room

for cream or sugar to cloud bittersweet

memories of a mother masking gloom,

who saw the mug half-empty, incomplete

lying next to a husband dodging touch

while watching Monday night football, losing

sight of all the fumbles slipped through his clutch.

But Val was not his mother—torn choosing

her man’s sole happiness over her own.

Val was a woman of raw skin, teeth, bone.


—Allyson Horton  (Marion County)

 (photo by John Gentry, Jr.)

Allyson Horton is a native of Indianapolis, and a graduate of IUPUI. Currently working on her MFA in poetry at Butler University, she has performed her work both locally and throughout the Midwest.

Indiana Humanities is posting a poem a day from Indiana poets in celebration of National Poetry Month.

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