Kaffeeklatsch (1995)


Mother and Jakob slip off their shoes. 

He shelves them in the rack.

Hindel descends three stairs at a time, takes his hand.

C’mon, Jakey. Moms, we’ll be in my room.

Meg & Cassie give Mother long hugs,

show her to the parlor.

Carafe, china, pastry decorate Beeb’s side table.

Meg grins, Jake hinted you’re fond of pecan squares. Still warm.

How do you like your coffee? Cream, milk, sugar? 

Mother laughs, You’re treating me like royalty!

I see why Hindel insists on helping with dishes. So gracious.

Cassie chuckles. And never shy. 

Jake told us to call you Bekah. not Rebekah. That right?

Perfect. Only my husband calls me Rebekah. 

Isaac thinks it’s—finger air quotes—biblically romantic. 

Thanks again for the dinner invitation. 

We’ll pick a date—soon—hopefully. 

Since the accident, Isaac’s…gloomy.

Cassie covers Bekah’s hand. Gotta be hard. If we can help: meals, whatever—please let us know. That’s not a hollow offer. You’d be giving us a gift.

Meg nods, We adore Jake. He’s smart, funny, polite. 

And—the only one to mate Hindel.

Meg turns a picture frame toward Bekah. 

Hindel smooches Jakob’s cheek. His eyes sparkle.


Hindel scoops books, papers off her bed. 

Pulls down the quilt, top sheet. Sits. 

Pats the spot next to her. 

Hindel, our Moms are downstairs.

On the other side of the house. 

Climbing the stairs makes a racket. 

My door’s locked.

What if they hear us? Knock. Ask to come in?

We’ll hide under the covers. Howl like ghouls. 

Sweetie, my moms just want us to be smart and safe. Look what they gave me.

She pulls a strip of multi-colored condoms from her night table.

I’m certain no one else in this house uses these.

Hindel kisses him longingly, teases his curls.

Hands shaking, Jakob unzips her jersey. 


Bekah waves her fingers above the pecan squares.

Last one. Please don’t let me have another.

Meg smiles, Well, I have a box for you to bring home. If you want.

Cassie pats her tummy. Meg’s cooking has that effect.

Bekah grins. Thank you, Meg & Cassie. 

I really needed a kaffeeklatsch. 

Maybe we can go out one night. My treat. 

Cassie chuckles, Deal. Sounds like fun.

Bekah twirls her car keys. Should I grab Jakob now?

Meg shakes her head. I’ll run him home later. Don’t want to disturb the kids.

Bekah covers her mouth with a palm. You don’t think they’re—

Cassie shrugs her shoulders. 

 We trust Hindel & Jakob. 

They’re in love. Would never hurt the other.

Let’s talk more on girls night out. 

Bekah pauses. 

And you must tell me about you and Isaac in high school. 

I can’t make sense of his stories. Are you Wonder Woman? 

Cassie holds up her wrists. No bracelets. A few scars.


When not writing about rock ’n roll or youthful transgressions, Richard Fox focuses on cancer from the patient’s point of view drawing on hope, humor, and unforeseen gifts. He is the author of seven poetry collections and the winner of the 2017 Frank O’Hara Prize. “Kaffeklatsch” appears in Once I Was Born to Live (Big Table Publishing, 2022)  – smallpoetatlarge.com



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