The Morning Coffee

January 10, 2008
I watched my mother brew it early.
(with the weight of curiosity)
on the strings
Of her twentieth century apron
They were high-waisted trousers
Pinstripes dripping from them
The color of a hazelnut roast.
They were slipping through my fists
Like the spilled water rivulets
That streaked her morning mug.

From the floor at 3,
The world grew to Everest peaks.
The kitchen counter summit
Was a prize for only
Yet, I strained to reach.

I watched my mother brew it early,
1,2,3,4 scoops
“to give your cup strength and body” the commercial had applauded
(at this, I had imagined tiny liquid minutemen
rising like Poseidon’s visage
from the crystal cauldron).

She would count them off,
And glance at me,
With concise, decaffeinated affection,
Stroke my hair for a moment or two,
(Love brimming inside her, water boiling in the carafe)
Then close the white, plastic lid
Slowly, solemnly,
With all the finality of a jeweler
Locking smoky topaz
In an airtight show-case.

Meticulous, my mother was.

She would leave the kitchen
(For an appointment with the curling iron)
And I would watch it bubble, pop, hiss
Gurgle hoarsely within that mirror-plated theatre
From the counter’s edge
(my Formica precipice)
and count the tiny globes as they burst,
amber precipitates inside.

I counted,
For youth and its discoveries,
For mornings and their pleasures,
For my mother and her coffee.

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