Maria Connour

Hazelnut Coffee, One Cream, One Sugar 

I’m not a morning person, but I wake up and I drink my coffee with my mom. 
Her eyes are tired, dusted with the gold the Sandman brought last night,
But she somehow winks, with her sleepy smile.

My mom always read the obituaries in the morning to see if there was anyone we knew and she
always drank orange juice with her coffee.
I would steal sips but I never bothered to pour my own.
Now, I’m at college, and I drink orange juice with my coffee.
I kiss my mom on the cheek and say goodbye,
As I wait for you to pull up and take me to school. 

Like every morning, you’re there to pick me up and your smile is so big I don’t even notice the
world outside your car.
You live close enough that you drive me everyday, but although it’s a daily ritual, 
It never feels like less of a reverent one. 
The right friendships make every moment feel like a moment of prominence. 
The sky is a shocking pink, the flavor of grapefruits, the flavor of sour prickles on your tongue.
The edges are purple, a Monet painting of juice dripping down your hand as you clutch the fruit
in your grasp and squeeze.
I feel like I am in a movie.
You rave on and on about how much you love sunrises, and even now I send you pictures of the
sunrise from my dorm. 
Your joy is something that I cannot capture, and I fear I’ll see it less and less, sand falling
through my fingers at Myrtle Beach. 
I put the sand in a bottle, small pieces of glass and ocean kaleidoscope too small to see with
human eyes.
This does not stop the ocean from washing away our sand castle, but at least I have this bottle on
my desk.
A framed picture.

I probably should have compared your fleeting joy to the sunrise, that would have been more
But your joy is not the murky watercolor of a sky, it is bold acrylics I cannot see through. 

You pull into the drive-thru of the coffee place near my house and you know my order.
It’s such a small thing, but my heart floods and I can’t breathe.
Even now, I get overwhelmed by the idea of being known. 
Something as small as knowing how I take my coffee, and a warm feeling spreads through me,
adding cream to coffee, adding a voice echoing a cave.
I know how you take your coffee, of course, but to think someone might afford me the same
small amount of headspace, is something I struggle to conceptualize.

It is hard to think of myself as anything to anybody, 
Much less someone worth memorizing the lines to. 
Would you be able to figure out my person, if you only had these details to work with?
Could you figure out the elephant, if you could only feel the trunk in the dark? 
I am no scared animal, and I do not run at the first sight of intrusion. 

Instead, I welcome your company and invite you into my house to see the life I have built for
Up on shelves and mantels. 
Not all my memories are bad, some are set on those mantles. 
I’m short, but I can reach them if I try.


About the Author: Maria Connour is a junior at Ohio Northern University, studying English Literature and Studio Arts. She has previously been published in Ohio Northern's literary magazine Polaris, where she serves as fiction editor. This will be her first published poem.