Cameron Morse: Rinse It Out
Photo: Joanna C. Valente

Photo: Joanna C. Valente



          —for Eve Brackenbury


On the last day of September, only Eve and I sit together

over poems at Inklings’ Books & Coffee Shoppe.

Palsied leaves curl in the grass, withering


and introspective, which reminds me of how hard

it used to be to turn a doorknob or tie

my shoelaces, how I stopped playing guitar.


Eve, the proprietress, makes my Americano

with a half shot, so I can sleep tonight. While she sips

the other half, our cups drift among books


and magazines. How many times has she comped my coffee

in the name of Poetry? How many times

when only she and I have joined to keep watch


in case an entrant, invited once perhaps

a thousand years ago, walks in with a poem?

When my mug drains down to the grounds, I rinse it out


in the stainless-steel sink and set it on the rack. Grabbing

a cold bottle of water, I twist off the cap on my way back

to the table, Eve’s hand outstretched to do it for me. 

Cameron Morse lives with his wife Lili and son Theodore in Blue Springs, Missouri. He was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in 2014. With a 14.6 month life expectancy, he entered the Creative Writing program at the University of Missouri—Kansas City and, in 2018, graduated with an M.F.A. His poems have been published in numerous magazines, including New Letters, Bridge Eight, and South Dakota Review. His first collection, Fall Risk, won Glass Lyre Press’s 2018 Best Book Award. His second, Father Me Again, is available from Spartan Press. Check out his Facebook page or website.