We have coffee and eat banana bread
at Starbucks. Our meetings are filled
with anxiety. I worry that I won’t
make it home in time, that my movements
will be detected, that the arc
of my life will somehow be disrupted.
We sit close to each other
and I worry that one of my wealthy cousins,
one who lives nearby,
will see us, will stop, and ask questions.
My hand shakes as I bring the coffee cup
up to my mouth. I am conscious
of the time, of wanting to be home
before my wife gets there. And yet
there is no affair, no sex, no
hotel room—only a friendship which,
for some bizarre reason, I want to keep
secret and apart from the rest of my life.
Herb Guggenheim was born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland. His poems and short stories have appeared in The Beloit Poetry Journal, Poetry Quarterly, The Florida Review and many other zines both on- and offline. He’s been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Best of the Net Award. Guggenheim lives in Rockville, Maryland.