The Coffee Cup

by Donald Hall

Donald Hall

The newspaper, the coffee cup, the dog’s
impatience for his morning walk:
These fibers braid the ordinary mystery.
After the marriage of lovers
the children came, and the schoolbus
that stopped to pick up the children,

and the expected death of the retired
mailman Anthony “Cat” Middleton
who drove the schoolbus for a whole
schoolyear, a persistence enduring
forever in the soul of Marilyn
who was six years old that year.

We dug a hole for him. When his widow
Florence sold the Cape and moved to town
to live near her daughter, the Mayflower
van was substantial and unearthly.
Neither lymphoma nor a brown-and-white
cardigan twenty years old

made an exception, not elbows nor
Chevrolets nor hills cutting blue
shapes on blue sky, not Maple Street
nor Main, not a pink-striped canopy
on an ice cream store, not grass.
It was ordinary that on the day

of Cat’s funeral the schoolbus arrived
driven by a woman called Mrs. Ek,
freckled and thin, wearing a white
bandana and overalls, with one
eye blue and the other gray. Everything
is strange; nothing is strange:

yarn, the moon, gray hair in a bun,
New Hampshire, putting on socks.

Last updated September 21, 2022