“Brewing in Eden” by Elizabeth Volpe

Elizabeth Volpe


Okay, so it shouldn’t be a huge deal
when I open the cupboard and notice
the coffee lids not quite secure. But
both lids have sidled practically off the cans,
like toddler twins scampering off their beds
on the way to mischief.

I no longer want coffee.

Rather, I no longer want
this coffee. My husband looks at me as though
I have grown a tail and patiently assures me
that the small animals I envision breaking into our cupboard
while we were away for the weekend—oh
how they had bided their time, rubbing their small paws
in anticipation—could not possibly have pried
tight lids from Costco 3 lb. coffee canisters. See, he says,
sifting through the grounds, making the coffee
even more unacceptable, there’s not a single thing
wrong with this coffee.

But at this point it has become a matter of aesthetics.

The coffee no longer pleases, and I choose
not to have any. Yes, I agree, it will be a waste to throw away
mostly full cans simply because I have let my imagination poison
my morning coffee. I don’t know how long we stand there,
me disgusted by the thought of the coffee, he disgusted
by my squeamishness.

It is the kind of battle we wage.

The Coffee Wars. The That-Milk-Is-Still-Perfectly-Good
Wars. The Do-You-Really-Need-All-Those-Lights-On
Wars. I scowl and he growls. I notice he’s chewing
his corn flakes more noisily than usual, so I rattle the morning paper,
as if shaking snakes from the newsprint. Then I inch the pages over
until they are ever-so-slightly on top of his placemat,
just barely touching his plate.

from Rattle #26, Winter 2006
Rattle Poetry Prize Honorable Mention

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