Free Coffee

A room for students to scream scrawled 
in yellow cursive on the chalkboard 
for New Semester Suggestions.

I only scream at my kids in blue
punctuated with a smiley face 
overwritten by YOU MIGHT BE 

A BAD PARENT!!! “People like to be 
heard,” according to Ron the history librarian 
chugging kombucha in the reference 

huddle bubble, “so we let them speak.” 
Top suggestions include not enough 
databases, open tables, study rooms, 

ease of remote access, outlets, privacy.
Serve free coffee for finals in white. 
Someone draws an x over for finals

adding EVERY DAMN DAY in thick red. 
Arrows of all colors lead to EVERY.
Would that lead to more screaming? 

“But sometimes,” Ron adds, “noise 
is just sound,” waves traveling between 
molecules until they dissipate. 

Days later, in green letters 
like sawgrass: Think of the quiet after.

Ben Kline (he/him) lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. Author of the chapbooks SAGITTARIUS A* (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2020) and DEAD UNCLES (Driftwood Press, May 2021,) Ben received the 2021 Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry. A reader for The Adroit Journal, Ben’s work is forthcoming or can be found in THRUSH, The Holy Male, CutBank, Limp Wrist, DIAGRAM, Hobart, Impossible Archetype, A&U Magazine, and many other publications. You can read more at

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