This work was featured in Issue 18:2, Spring 2017 — Cave Canem 20th Anniversary Issue

Saida Agostini

coffee with a married woman

i nurse my coffee, and
imagine your breast;
your jagged cry, a bluesy hymn
what joy we find in being undone.

we are both so hungry, it has made us foolish with grief.
i want to be full so bad it is familiar.

you tell me of a grown brother lost
in his own room/a father who cheats—
i make my mouth tender—say nothing
I ask about your wife until she becomes
more real than desire. replay in my heart
all the times my father came home
after laying with another woman
defeat in his eyes/my mother keening.

we must teach the heart to want less, how to survive on stone.


Saida Agostini is a poet, youth worker and social worker. She runs a youth program that provides shelter to minors in crisis. Agostini is currently working on a book-length poetry collection. She is a Cave Canem Fellow.