[Poetry] — Ethan Turner


I can’t fucking make latte art.
I have the right espresso machine and the right frother but the foam and milk won’t separate
when I pour
and I don’t know what I’m doing.

I can’t paint either. Or draw. Or write stories. Or play music. Or play sports. 

I listen to music and I watch sports and I read books and
I’m a bystander in this world. 

A thin blanket of snow covers the grass and I’m walking my dog. It reminds me of a book I read where some preppy, rich students of ancient Greek at a New England college 
murdered their friend because he was going to expose them for killing someone during a cult ritual gone wrong.
The body was never found because it was covered under fresh snow and it froze over. 
I don’t know why I am thinking of that scene now but this is what I do. 

When someone asks me what my hobbies are, I strain to answer them. I don’t know if I have any. 
I read, I go to university, I read at university, and sometimes I have an anxiety attack in between classes. 

I’m watching the world change and shift around me. I’m not afraid,
just jealous the world didn’t rub off on me. 
Where is my grand change? 

My great grandmother died recently at the age of 102. Can you believe that?
She saw the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, two world wars, and entire civilizations crumble and be reborn.

Everyone tells me I should be grateful to live during the age of information but I suspect that is why I can’t sleep at night. I’m tormented by the news, thoughts of the past and future. 

I suspect I’m not really here, 

My mind is floating along somewhere between 
What                                     Was and
  What Never                                            Will.

My coffee tastes good and I should be proud of it but the cloud of my failed latte art hangs over my head. I feel there is something missing

but if I add cream or sugar I’ll wish my coffee was just plain black.
Why do we like the chase? 
Once we have it, we want to throw it away and find something else.

I’m not scared of commitment but what if I miss something, 
some extraordinary moment or experience as a result?

I want to go to Rome but what if I get there and feel numb?
I had a nightmare that I went to Tokyo and couldn’t pay for gas because my credit card wasn’t accepted in Japan. 

Where am I really?
Am I in Rome, getting lost,
or am I in Tokyo, being stranded
or am I here,
Wherever that is,

writing at a dinner table I never actually eat on.


Ethan Turner is graduating from Towson University May 2022 with his Bachelor’s of Science in English. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Bullshit Lit, Spirits Arts & Literary Magazine, and Blue Marble Review. He can be found on Instagram @ethann.turner