Two Poems by Roberta James
The solace of javaHe winks, exudes a ‘look look’ look you see shimmer
from a distance as you focus on the blackboard’s chalk offer,
a brand new blend of coffee that will take you to far places,
a hand-made cake of spelt crusted with a coat of sugared cranberries
that promises a whole mouthfulness of taste from alpha to omega.
You view the woman by him bask in his hot gaze, her mouth a volcano,
until a gloss of sweat begins to round her face to moonshine.
His untwinkling eye catches your quickly - too-slow - hidden wish
to explore. He’s seen it all before. He dims himself. That switch
brings you down to earth with a hurt tangs copper in your mouth.
So you break a hunk of crumble crust that dapples your buds,
then dip into coffee depths until under its waterfall rush
you loop up the foam to smooth it on your gums as balm,
heal tender hidden skin, thin coverings sinewing the bones.
She loads her spoon with scooped-out last remaining licks
and twirls away her haul. He stamps his feet to her resounding beat
while carrying the whisk that’s coated with caul-thin mix
that’s left from the bowl. For one and two and round the room,
then three and four to close the door, she lifts her spoon baton so high
then whirls and swoops in loops to one and two now sit on the floor
for three then four eat up some more. The rough side of her tongue
absorbs the mixture thick and sugar-grit, raw, for one then two I want to sing
so three then four don’t join in.
He claps his hands to an arc cymbal-banging big,
rolls away. Lays on his back for a while to stare at the ceiling that is the colour of
old egg yolk, wonders what sound cake makes when it cooks if you are quiet enough
to catch it macaroon crisp marzipan sticks render and miss sticky bits miss,
gooey bits fizz swish boing and burst until the smell of hot sponge stops him.
She turns to stare at the oven window as he stands up, her face hollowing.
She has seen the rising, the split down the middle.
Roberta James earns a crust working freelance in London in the creative industries, and thinks she may live where she does because it is within walking distance of a great bakers.