Woman gives birth at café,
refuses to leave until latte finished
by Jerry Ratch

There was a man crying, walking his dog
and a woman drove by
on a flat tire

They brought coffee to the tables
in large glasses on white saucers
There’d be long silver spoons
with which to stir in strong

dark espresso
floating in layers in the steamed milk

Don’t forget
the girl with long blond hair
fiddling with her key in a car door
outside, saying
“Oh!  This isn’t even my car!”

and yes, having conversations about
catching a man, seated in this same café
when you were young, not pregnant
not looking down the road to life very far


Jerry Ratch has published twelve books of poetry and a novel, Wild
Dreams of Reality
.  He has written a memoir about growing up with
polio, entitled
A Body Divided, and is at work on a second novel and
a new manuscript of poems.  Ratch
s writing has also been published
in the
San Francisco Chronicle, Slant, Carolina Quarterly, Avec,
Louisville Review, Brick and Mortar Review, and various anthologies.   

On “Woman Gives Birth at Café, Refuses to Leave Until Latte Finished”:
The best poems, to me, give a moment of unending clarity in the midst
of the ordinary chaos.  Sometimes the pieces will come together after
standing around in the shadows of my notebooks far too long, like
broken pieces of the whole, waiting to be reassembled like a car
wreck filmed in reverse.  Other times they shoot out like newborns
and barely need to be touched.  But all really good poems raise the
stakes to life, I think.  You don’t know where they come from and
suddenly they ask you to have sex.  Afterwards you feel used and
exhilarated at the same time, and you will ask: “Did I give birth to

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 1, Number 2
(Fall 2006)

Copyright © 2006
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.