Queen's Quarterly

Queen's Quarterly
Queen's Quarterly

Coffee at Les Saisons

Ken Victor

Snowflakes fall, turning the land’s dark espresso
white. Here the barista
knows your name, your chosen milk.

In nooks that serve up nothing to do
people cup their warm mugs like amulets,
      their faces declaring
      my cares haven’t followed me.

Winter sun on wooden tables.
The sound of steam serenading the froth.

If the smell of coffee has a name,
call it sanctuary call it
      the world out there
      will wait until you’re ready.


Ken Victor is a long-time contributor to Queen’s Quarterly whose poem “On the Coldest Night in Quebec” (QQ 109/4) received a National Magazine Award. His collection of poetry We Were Like Everyone Else was published in 2019 by Cormorant Books.