7 Short Poems You Can Read While Waiting In Line For Coffee

woman sitting at a cafe enjoying coffee
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Today I woke up and the unthinkable had happened: I'd forgotten to buy coffee. All right, to be fair, there was some random decaf lying around (I know), but the point here isn't to tell you how a cup after 3 p.m. lately keeps me up at night. The point is to tell you how I had to go buy coffee, in a coffee shop. This is a splurge to me, folks — not something I usually do. Still, I'm the sort of person who finds to-go vessels festive, so I marched over to my local cafe. And... waited.

There are many, many, many, many, many worse struggles than waiting for coffee, but when you are in the place of coffee, where the coffee smell is in your face; when you haven't had coffee, but sweet lord you want coffee--well, it can feel pretty brutal. You might (as I did) start sort of standing on tiptoes to see what's happening up ahead in the line. You might clear your throat (not subtle!). You might take out your phone.

Okay, definitely take out your phone! And if you do, don't google "coffee thief" or "coffee withdrawal." Take a deep breath. And read these poems — they'll cover a line of any size.

'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' by T.S. Eliot

For I have known them all already, known them all—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

Click here to read.

'A Bell, Still Unrung' by Safiya Sinclair

She, disease. Often bruised
to brush the joy of anything.
Zombic. Un-groomed.

Click here to read.

'Song of the Open Road, I' by Walt Whitman

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

Click here to read.

'Mr. Darcy' by Victoria Chang

Then we are in the back seat of a car kissing
not the light kind but one where our
hands are on each other’s cheeks holding
each other’s heads as if they will fall

Click here to read.

'Life is Fine' by Langston Hughes

So since I’m still here livin’,
I guess I will live on.
I could’ve died for love—
But for livin’ I was born

Click here to read.

'crossword' by Valzhyna Mort

one black bird, one cow, one horse.
the sea beats against the wall of the waterless.
she walks to a phone booth that waits
a fair distance from all three villages.

Click here to read.

'ode to the puritan in me' by Ross Gay

he has not taken a nap
since he was two years old
because he detests
sloth above all
he is maybe the only real person
I’ve ever heard
say “sloth” or “detest”in conversation

Click here to read.