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.