Coffee grounds and bad habits

Brown dust was swept under the beds
of his fingernails before he nibbled them
off one by one. The dust was formed
from no hard labor, but from the scooping of coffee
grounds and the rolling of tobacco
an hour before.

There were no pending appointments or interviews,
but it was the indecision pounding at his chest
that caused him to chew.
Soon she’ll be sitting at his kitchen table,
watching him fumble through cupboards and cabinets.
They’ll waste time watching water boil while they
share their last heart to heart.

By the sound of the kettle’s whistle, he’ll know his decision.
He’ll coil his fingers into fists and neatly tuck them
under cupid’s bow.
His fingers will not coil for knots twisting
in his stomach,
but because the smell of coffee grounds and tobacco
will bring a calm to his heart
while he searches for the right words to gently break hers.


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