The Table

A poem by Julie Weiss

Photo of a table with two chairs by a window with a blur of shadow on the gray-plaster wall

She doesn’t know where her coffee has gone,
presumes from the crust inside the cup that
she has drunk it, though she can hardly fathom

where inside her body—a corpse splayed across
the table among skins and skeletons—
the caffeine might have faltered on the journey

to her brain. She has vague memories of steamy
cream-infused liquid seeping down her throat
the way dreams trickle through the tunnels

of her mind at rest, not quite palpable but potent,
luxurious enough to leave an aftertaste upon waking,
but that could have been rum or rush or semen

for all she knew. By sunlight, at least, she was
clothed, though she sensed a sharp absence
of something crucial to her ensemble, jewelry

or an undergarment, perhaps. She was too sluggish
to say. Her neighbor’s parties were like mystical
creatures, mesmerizing and treacherous, a force

to be reckoned with, but no matter how hard she dug
her nails into her own sagacity, no matter how many
pages remained unstudied or how much sleep unslept,

there was that roar, that fire, those bejeweled eyes
luring her into their lair. By now, she had her own set
of keys to his house, and they always ate breakfast

in the garden the next day. It was a game of theirs,
counting conquests, as if playing their lives out on
a cribbage board: two points for a kiss, three for a feel,

and they had devised an entire mathematical system for
sex. Funny how they sat at opposite ends of the table,
pushing food around their plates, avoiding eye contact.

He was frowning at his empty coffee cup, too.
If they searched long enough, she wondered,
would they break the surface of each other’s reflections?


Julie Weiss found her way back to poetry in 2018 after slipping into a nearly two-decade creative void, and to her shock and delight, she began publishing her work almost immediately. In 2020, she was a finalist in Alexandria Quarterly’s first line poetry contest series. Her poems appear in Random Sample Review (Best of the Net Nomination, 2019), The American Journal of Poetry, Sky Island Journal, Santa Clara Review, Poetry Quarterly, Lavender Review, Sinister Wisdom, and Barren Magazine, among others, as well as in a handful of anthologies. She’s a 45-year-old ex-pat from Foster City, California, who works in Spain, where she lives with her wife, 5-year-old daughter, and 2-year-old son. You can find her in her studio, writing late at night by the light of the moon, and on Twitter @colourofpoetry or on her website at https://julieweiss2001.wordpress.com.

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