Payer le Café – poem by Lee Nash


Payer le café

I took a lover the colour of coffee,
a red wine stain on his neck,
who gathered girolles in the forest,
butchered boar, brought home fresh black bass
and drank Ricard with grenadine and ice.

Reeled in I was, as he could cook
a mushroom omelette to perfection,
would never leave a lightbulb on,
replaced the lids of felt-tip pens and taught me
words I didn’t know: déboussolé,

which means de-compassed, lost, the needle
flitting nervously to find its north.
Rebellious, I rejected this lodestone,
repelled the animal magnetism
(in search of my lodestar),

because it’s the little things that
drive you mad. The way he’d inch his chair
in my direction: I would smile
(still looking for affection) yet inwardly
cringe and shout – give me some bloody space!

Heavy, but he got the message,
packed the suitcase not so long unpacked,
took his parfum de dimanche and comb,
searched the wardrobe for his short-sleeve shirts,
and left. Je vais te payer le café.

Lee Nash lives in France and freelances as an editorial designer for a UK publisher. Her poems have appeared in magazines and e-zines in the UK, the US and France including The French Literary Review, The Lake, Inksweatandtears and Silver Birch Press.