For anyone who ever worked in a coffee shop, or stood in line beside someone talking on a Bluetooth and holding up one finger to suggest to the Barrista that he should wait to take the order... This is why at the bakery we have serve yourself straight up coffee independent of the espresso machine, and why Starbucks should have 2 lines, one marked PITA and one marked Cup Of Coffee.
Your Punishment in Hell
by Gary Leising
Someone will douse a cobra in gasoline,
light the sucker, and shove it headfirst
down your throat. It'll speed straight
through your esophagus, unfurl
its hood to fill your stomach
then begin to strike and strike and strike
and strike and strike: fangs pierce
your stomach, venom pours in,
the little burn of incipient ulcers
grows quick, paralysis sets in.
Your lungs stop before your brain,
before your hand, which lifts
to your mouth the plastic-lidded
paper cup holding the caramel
macchiato cappuccino with a double
shot of espresso and frothed soy milk
topped with two shakes of cinnamon
and no, NO (yes, you said no twice)
sugar that was made for you
slowly, while I, already running late,
waited behind you for a simple,
already-made black coffee.
You will lose all motion before
that drink reaches your mouth,
but you recover and the drink,
strangely, has vanished, and barrista
and cobra-douser-slash-lighter do it all again
and again. I know this because,
for my angry impatience,
I am behind you in line in hell
forever, the pot of black coffee
behind the counter steaming,
turning, I know, bitter.
"Your Punishment in Hell" by Gary Leising from Fastened to a Dying Animal. © Pudding House Press, 2010.
Lifted from The Writer's Almanac