Samantha Vealey | The Color of Coffee

In the morning Mom would brew a pot

then pour the new day blackness

from our stainless steel percolator

into a clay, yard sale-captured mug.

She’d let the liquid settle for a moment or two,

hot as she herself could be, with a searing steam

that could surely scorch a daring tongue.


The tarnished silver spoon would clank

and swirl in a storm dark sea of grounds.

She would add the cream and just like that

black would turn to caramel, soft and weakened-

not quite as light as sun-stained cotton,

nor thick as the rigid bark of oak,

but colored the coat of a white tailed doe

merely freckled white, not fat-spotted as her fawn.


Sugarless sips left a scent warm as milk on her breath

which carried a bold trace of something baked too long

and cradled me tight as a womb when she spoke.


Far from home, my coffee now can’t match her color,

murk-muddy cups can’t rival the taste of her life,

the fierce-licked smoky smell of her love.


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