Thinking about My Brother While Making Coffee

Thinking about that girl
he met in a Paris museum.
He took her home to wherever
home was, his or hers,
cramped flat
in an immigrant arrondissement.
He didn’t know, he said,
until later that it was
his birthday, as if
the universe were a much
cooler family. The coffee
was better, the streets
more artfully curved, so unlike
the pinched suburban corners
we knew. This was before
he changed his name. I keep
going back to the coffee in Paris,
the way they bring it out
in its own drip cone,
how it must have smelled
like the future,
how the girl in the museum
must have looked to him,
her hair falling like cedars
on the Pyrenees of her brow, and,
over her shoulder,
a painting of his life—
a shimmering band
broken free and flying finally
away from the dull,
old ground.

Amy Miller

About Amy Miller

Amy Miller’s poetry has appeared in Northwest Review, Nimrod, Crab Orchard Review, Many Mountains Moving, Willow Springs, and ZYZZYVA. She won the Cultural Center of Cape Cod National Poetry competition, judged by Tony Hoagland, and was a finalist for the 2012 Pablo Neruda Prize and 49th Parallel Award. She works as the publications manager for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and blogs at
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