When Out for Coffee
I lick my lips slowly, savoring the taste of honeysuckle blood—
my ambrosia tasting something like bitter tears and noonday tea.
There’s just a hint of swampy air, the earthy taste of my home,
dancing along my tongue with spices from distant shores
as I find myself falling back into the skin I shed all those years ago.
She wears dusty skirts, kicking her feet as she marches along
with a perpetual question she can’t pose hanging in the air.
Her mother smells like posies, nectar dripping from her almond eyes,
falling on her waiting tongue like the raindrops she runs through,
but all the honey and sugar is gone and she cries at the acrid taste—
I want to ask Momma where all the sweetness went,
but I keep my mouth shut when my eyes fall on her father.
The sight of the worn mahogany is answer enough.
Prayers feel awkward and heavy in my unfamiliar mouth—
the sound of amen making me cringe to this very day.
I can just hear the muffled voice of the masses as I look to—
“So wh at do you think?” I gaze across the café table with a smile,
lifting the cup back to my lips to take a second taste.
“Just like my mother’s,” I answer, choking down all my years
and falling back into this present with only the slightest hesitation.