P. MICHAEL MASTROFRANCESCO

 

Father


I didn’t know much
about coffee, never had
the reason to learn, but once
I made it for you, scooped
the decaffeinated crystals
from a jar, liquefied them
with scalding water, then stirred.

I carried the mug to your room, held
my breath half-way
up the stairs, as kids do,
every time the brown water
swiped the rim, threatened
to spill out.

You were in bed when I entered, trying
to lift yourself up and lean
your back against the wall
and pillow, but the stroke made
movement difficult, as slurred
as your words.

Before I left to mow the thinning
lawn, I sat on the floor
beside your bed as porters do
in the outback, quiet
as you sipped, letting myself believe
you enjoyed what I made no matter
how it tasted.

 

Copyright © Michael Mastrofrancesco 2003
Appeared in North American Review

 



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