i remember learning to use a coffee maker for the first time
in oakland, when the sunrise was molten on the edges of the hills
and turned the kitchen floor into sun-puddles
and bacon was a special breakfast
my grandmother let me stand on tip-toe and pour the water in
it was cold through the glass of the carafe
and she smelled of unscented hand lotion as she reached around me
to program the brew.
i would marvel at the bacon snapping in its own juices
and at the burbling of the coffee maker
while we talked.
i remember learning that if my dad was grinding beans
for a second cup of coffee before he left for work
i could stand in the kitchen and tell him just about anything
and he would listen
until the timer went off and he pressed down the filter.
he would kiss my head when he walked out the door.
if he offered me a sip, i would taste the smell of it all day long.
it was his smell, sharp and warm,
i can’t decide if i drink coffee just to keep
tenderness and pictures like these close at hand
weapons against defeat and adulthood
or if i keep drinking it down, waiting to find
at the bottom of this cup
someone who smells like coffee too
who will talk in silence
and watch the light with me.