Coffee Scented Memories

My first memory is made of coffee, fresh grass, and my father’s laughter. It happened when I was still in diapers, so I’ve often wondered if the memory is truly mine, or if it’s a story-told gift.

In those days, the sun was always up before I was. My mornings started with a giant hand slipping a bottle of linden tea under the mosquito net. Never milk, I hated milk, still despise it.

“Coffee,” I would say to my mother, after waddling into the kitchen.

“We need to brush your teeth first.”

“No.” I had nothing against hygiene, but the taste of toothpaste disgusted me. “Coffee!”

“Only if you brush your teeth.”

According to my mother, my wailing over the injustice of having to brush my teeth could be heard all the way to the moon. I’ve never believed her. You see, I’ve a great set of lungs (asthma be damned!). I’m sure that if I put my heart into it, even Pluto had to cover its dwarf ears.

The agony caused by losing another battle against tooth brushing torture would only last until my mother put a huge tin mug of cold coffee in my hands. I would hold the mug tight against my chest, and probably give her a nasty look, before walking out of the backdoor to find my father.

I had been the bringer of coffee for long enough that my feet knew exactly where to take me. Still, the journey was a perilous one. I had to dodge tall grasses and nosy chickens, and fight wicked cowboys who always did their best to try to take my father’s coffee from me. I kicked them and bit them, and if my father’s best friend is to be believed, I even shrieked some of my first unintelligible curses their way.

My father waited under the same tree, an old hat covering his face, his snores shaking the world and making me giggle. If I didn’t bring him his morning coffee, he would never wake up.

“Coffee, Papi!” I would say, poking his belly and handing over the mug.

He would sit me on his lap, saying, “That’s my little warrior,” making a big show of yawning, and pretending to sip from the cup (even when I had spilt most of the coffee all over myself).

The cowboys who worked with my father would come to tell him all about how they had fought me and I had beaten them. My father would laugh. They would pretend to be upset. And I would probably grin like a lunatic, my toddler thoughts high on coffee fumes and future battle plans..

Tin Coffee Mugvia

Just Truth, Teeth, and Wings

She was crafted from hammered pain—bones smelted out of hurt ore, heart set afire, dipped in frigid blood and torrid tears until her soul screamed adamantium into armor around her reality. Her night-stories swarmed with what most minds believed belonged to the wrong lived. Death licked her skin, danced with her mind, wrung pearls out of her eyes… wanting her to wish for it.

Under today’s dark moon and grinning sun, she wraps wild verses around the hardness of her all. Her lived hand takes a lie—once carved on her backbone—and shapes it into poems. She lets go not of memories full of broken bones and bloodied howls. She plants them in the soil soothing the flames burning out of her skin. She consumes the hurt, births energy out of old pains. Death still speaks to her, but there is no hunger in The Reaper’s words… just truth, teeth, and wings.

born on fire,
she feeds on summer
and blazes

the (not so) wee notes…
Adamantium: a fictional metal alloy… in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, and is best known as the substance bonded to the character Wolverine’s skeleton and claws.
– “wrapped in verses”, I stole the phrase from Brendan’s quoting of John Hollander’s views about how Dante was able to get through his Inferno.
– Linked to Expanding Bits of Fiction and Poetry into Haibun, 11… also to Poets United (Poetry Pantry, 201), the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, Sunday Mini-Challenge: Harrowing and Hallowed (“write about something that is both harrowing and hallowed. Rough up an experience with that dreadful harrow then look at it in the opposite way, the lair of death becomes a golden stair”). I based my poem on AlmaMia Cienfuegos, the main character of a short story collection that shares her name.

AlmaMia Cienfuegos and Other Stories-Facebookfrom the cover of AlmaMia Cienfuegos and Other Stories, by Magaly Guerrero
(painted to fiery life by Michelle Kennedy)
*Shelle, you rocketh very mucho*