The Cupcakes of Newburyport

Once more we’re huddled over
the cupcakes of Newburyport.
We’re holding hands, we’re tickling.
The waitress makes fun of us,

says I look like an asshole,
drops some chai on the floor
and storms out into the light drizzle,
biting her manicure.

Some other things I remember:
a long day hike through the dunes,
then a getaway bed and breakfast,
the radiance of your skin.

It couldn’t mask your resentment.
The pillow ground at my neck.
You congratulated yourself for
putting up with someone like me.

Today, those details don’t matter.
Nostalgia rains down, superb,
repainting the watercolors
that will never return.

Everything smells like red velvet—
the buses, the headphone jacks,
the horns of the arrogant cattle
in Ipswich and Drumlin Farms,

the tugboats, the golden retrievers,
the cobblestones of Prince Place.
There was a time this city
sounded like your name.

Originally from Moscow, Russia, Anton Yakovlev lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and works as a college textbook editor. He studied filmmaking and poetry at Harvard University. His work is published or forthcoming in The New Yorker, Fulcrum, American Arts Quarterly, Measure, The Raintown Review, The New Verse News and elsewhere. He is the author of chapbooks Neptune Court (The Operating System, 2015) and The Ghost of Grant Wood (Finishing Line Press, 2015). He has also directed several short films.

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