Cups of Coffee

by Carl Sandburg

THE HAGGARD woman with a hacking cough and a deathless love whispers of white
flowers … in your poem you pour like a cup of coffee, Gabriel.

The slim girl whose voice was lost in the waves of flesh piled on her bones … and
the woman who sold to many men and saw her breasts shrivel … in two poems you
pour these like a cup of coffee, Francois.

The woman whose lips are a thread of scarlet, the woman whose feet take hold on
hell, the woman who turned to a memorial of salt looking at the lights of a
forgotten city … in your affidavits, ancient Jews, you pour these like cups of
coffee.

The woman who took men as snakes take rabbits, a rag and a bone and a hank of
hair, she whose eyes called men to sea dreams and shark’s teeth … in a poem you
pour this like a cup of coffee, Kip.

Marching to the footlights in night robes with spots of blood, marching in white
sheets muffling the faces, marching with heads in the air they come back and
cough and cry and sneer:… in your poems, men, you pour these like cups of coffee.

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