The Orange Room Review

Accessible poetry of substance

Coffee and Tea

by Amanda England

I remember the day you broke me.
The sound of shattered glass
from the coffee cup that fell from my fingers
sounded like the cry my heart was making.
You told me you were sorry,
in an offhand way, and I dropped unthinking
to grasp the pieces and singe my hands
with the coffee I'd made for you while my tea-water boiled:
the coffee your gift to me, last Christmas,
promising I'd love it.
You knew I hated coffee.
You repeated yourself
as if I hadn't heard your first false apology,
familiar tints of anger creeping into
your voice when I didn't reply
with my habitual assurance.
On my knees, your growing wrath like a sunset above,
the pooling coffee became ink,
and I watched an invisible hand write out
the rest of my life, the progression
into the beaten women I'd become,
I watched you paint my face with blue,
the tinges of purple and green,
fading to sickly yellow,
I watched the neighbors averting their eyes
and felt the stares of the supermarket cashier
in a year or two…the inheritance
I'd married into.
I remember your incredulous stare
as I rose, shakily,
leaving the mess, leaving your coffee,
my strength returning with my resolve,
and I remember your rage
rising like the steam from the kettle
that started to boil
the same time you did
as I walked out the door—-
your shouts mingled with the screaming whistle.
Yes, I remember the day you broke me,
I remember it fondly, over a cup of tea.

AMANDA ENGLAND is a writer and a college student majoring in English. She has had work published most recently in The Legendary, The New Plains Review, The Foundling Review, Joyful!, The Houston Literary Review, and The Hedge Apple. While not in class, she serves on The Hedge Apple reading committee and moderates a peer critique group. Read more about Amanda and her work at