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Poetry

Coffee

  • Rhona McAdam

Corps de l’article

It was coffee in the kitchens of then.
Aluminum pot on the stove,
electric for special occasions.
A burping that underwrote mealtimes,
grit at the bottom of the cup, a morsel
to chew on while waiting for pie.
That rite of passage, a bitter sip
to fill the cup in truckstops,
its surface feathered with white
while the cream travelled down,
then mushroomed from the depths.
Or breakfasting in coffee shops
the dull lip of cup, white
with a green line, a snug fit
to its saucer, the square of napkin
soaking the drips between.
Coffee came in cans then, and
gasped when the opener
bit the edge.
Its black crumbs bore
no relation to anything living
and clung with winter passion
to the sides of spoons, counter, pot.
It was something elemental, we supposed,
like sugar or flour, mined
from some foreign hill. Beans
were hard black candies
pictured on its packaging,
beautiful as chocolate,
shiny as coal.

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