Day 9 Poem: Caffeinated Fortune (30/30 Challenge) ~ Alyah Al Aswad
The gypsy reads the tea leaves,
yet we believe in coffee beans - mostly,
besides minarets and food on the table.
My mother -in her beloved concern- had asked her aunt to tell my fortune
I should marry a man.
My mother’s aunt sets two chairs on a balcony lined with her childrens’ fresh laundry.
She is a widowed woman, who knows the dried fruit of Damascus
with wrinkles predestined to rule the hunger within the ragged allies swarming with ants and children playing survival of the fittest.
She had prepared the pot of brown brew over a stove that gives out an actual fire flame.
Houses and people like these had never known electric plates,
let alone starbucks.
During my college years in the States I had countless moments of self discovery,
I learned I’d rather be straight than a capitalist,
and that I’d rather love hunger than love big corporate assholes.
My aunt asks me to drink her heavy coffee, and talk to her about what has been troubling me;
Her nervous temper gets the best of her, and she ignores giving me a second to answer instead she tells me why she thinks my capacity to love a woman is unnatural.
Apparently, I am more interested in her kitchen than her opinions on my love life.
I think to myself; the pot used to prepare my drink had been in a civil union with the
face of open fire for centuries;
its how it goes.
According to my aunt I should have rooted myself in some man’s tiles already,
I find myself not understanding whats so unnatural about two women
making love and coffee in a kitchen like that.
It happens to be my dream,
I romanticize her life, except I’d rather be remonatic with another arab woman as I live it.
I ask her how she makes her coffee.
Her voice trembles as if a concern-monkey is balancing on her voice-strings;
you add contaminated tap water to the pot,
then 4 spoons of ground arabica beans
then you stir,
then it boils,
then you take it away from the fire,
then you stir again,
then you pour.
Much like lesbian sex in the Middle East;
you add taboo to a bed;
then 4 spoons of trust that this chick does not tell on you;
then you stir her between her legs
then she sweats
then you stop stirring and you kiss her neck
then you stir again
then she pours.
I ask my aunt if coffee is unnatural too.
She ignores my question
and asks me to finish the coffee.
That’s the thing with Muslim Arabs,
they do not enjoy questions that make them question themselves.
I finish my cup.
She asks me to flip it and have it rest face down.
I suddenly relate to the cup, people around this side of the globe make me wonder if my face should belong on the ground with feet and flipflop toes.
She leaves me in my admiration for a flower pot next to the wall.
I try to think up a poem to match it,
or at least a line.
She takes the cup.
The coffee had left queer patterns on the inside walls.
She tries to read them.
Her face begins to look like the Prophet’s in cave Hiraq,
when he first received the message of Islam from God.
Her son walks in,
asking about his lunch.
She leaves to prepare it.
I leave to see my girl,
who I had missed.
She never tells me what she found in the dirt of my coffee,
it could’ve been something horrible.