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Morning Ritual

I don't love you anymore.

I don't love the low timbre

of your voice as you say

Good morning

and place my coffee on the counter

fixed right, bringing me to life—

steaming hot in my indigo mug,

half milk with one sachet Splenda

and a peppermint drop.

I don't love the way you turn

to look when I walk through

the door and you smile with

your eyes, even though I’m not

smiling back yet.

I don't love when you tell a joke

and wait, inviting me to laugh

with you, at you,

anything to get me to grin

when the kids are being

kids and I forgot to pick up

wine at the store to help us

end the day on a softer

and more bearable note.

I don't love the woolen scratch

of your scarred and work-worn hands

tangled in my brown hair

as if you need to memorize

the weight and texture

for many years to come.

I don't love when my arms

are around your waist

and my eyes are shut and

my ear rests against the thrumming

note of your chest's drumbeat

that runs faster and deeper

when we stand together

like this.

I don't love how I am

a mug of bitter coffee now

and you are milk

and I suppose the kids could be

peppermint drops

all mixed together

returning me to life

when the sun forces me awake again.

I don't love you anymore

I don't love you

I don't

because I can't survive

loving someone who is gone.


Canadian poet Alison McBain
Alison McBain

Alison McBain’s novels are the recipients of over 13 awards, including the Foreword INDIES and the Readers’ Choice Book Awards. Her shorter writing has been published in Grain Magazine, Canadian Literature, and Litro, among other magazines. She’s currently pursuing a project called “Author Versus AI,” where she’s writing a book a week over the course of a year, using NO AI at all (52 books total). When not writing, Ms. McBain is associate editor for the magazine ScribesMICRO and draws all over the walls of her house with the enthusiastic help of her kids. She lives in Alberta, Canada.


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