Craig Billingham



The morning after your birthday
she treats you to coffee.
Last night, she says, it was really nice.

Hearing this you knit your hands together—
one thumb is slightly longer
than the other. You’re playing dumb—
after all, it’s a role for which you’ve been
the perfect method actor.

She’s asked for a ristretto?
Order a mugaccino.
Smile. Say something like
I fell off my bike
repeatedly when I was seven, or,
Forever doesn’t mean forever—
I’m already twenty-nine.

Drink slowly
leaving the froth across your lip—
it deepens your character.

Once your pain is visible on her face
stand up and leave, covering your eyes
with but a snowball’s chance
that she will follow.



Craig Billingham’s first collection, Storytelling, was published in 2007. More recently his poems have appeared in Meanjin and HEAT, and he has participated in several projects for the Red Room Company. He lives in Katoomba.