Fall in the Coffee Cherry

“You have no seasons in that small island of yours,” she says, with a smile that stinks of nurtured ignorance and mirth-rich malice. “That is why your people migrate to our lands, right? Searching for more, wanting better, needing our green Springs and the vivid orange of our Falls? So sad.”

For a fiery moment, I taste her nasty thoughts wanting to crawl into my words. But I magic the flames into a knowing grin—she shan’t pull her rot out of my tongue. And I speak my truth: “In my small island, Fall sleeps in the reds of the coffee cherry. We arouse it awake with our fingers, berry by berry, until our baskets are full of warming cups. We drink October all year long. And so do you. But the taste buds of your spirit are dead. So you fail to notice. So very sad.”

the reddest berries
lose their dresses for the Fall,
to warm coffee cups

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the wee notes…
– All right, so maybe a wee bit of her nastiness touched my pen’s tongue *cough, cough cackle*.
– In the bit of the Dominican Republic where I was born, coffee harvest used to begin in October.
– Linked to Sanaa’s Prompt Nights – Crunching, Crinkling Autumn swirling in the Breeze.

coffee-cherries
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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.

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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

Of Former Lovers

He kissed the tip of my tongue at sunrise, and I tasted gen: I would never be me without him in my mouth; my heartbeats would fade and die without him filling my veins. I was addicted to his scent, to his fluid skin, to the jolt he shot into my mind. Forever yours, I thought… But by noontime, his breath soured my day. I still wanted him. Thought, I need you… And I was wrong; for under moonlight, my tongue kissed a new lover. I am me.

a tree gone liquid,
in me this dark and shining—
my coffee-less tongue.

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***
Process Note – After a series of stomach problems, I was advised to gradually reduce my intake of coffee… until I had to stop drinking it all together. A couple of days ago, my doctor said that it was safe to go back to a cup or two a day. I brewed my first pot grinning like a mirth-filled maniac… then I sipped the coffee… just to have my tongue tell me that we no longer care for its taste. Now I go to bed with tea, and wake up to tea. And love it like that.

Gen – I never used the word “gen” before today, so I wanted to share its meaning: information; find out about.

for the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (Sunday’s Mini-Challenge: Judith Wright). Grace, the challenger, says Judith Wright started losing her hearing in her 20s. My poem was inspired by Wright’s “Five Senses”; the middle line of the haiku section of my haibun, “in me this dark and shining”, is a direct quote.

linked to Poets United, Poetry Pantry 264

Abstract Love“Abstract Love”
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