Afternoon’s Coffee

I make a brief nostalgia of my afternoon coffee.
Not by chance nor by the cowardice of an uninspired hand

is it so dull—the same blackened green of the canals
behind the house in La Romaine, swirling in the wooden stirrer’s wake.

There, behind the house, a black baptist woman announces
tamarind and sugar cake like a broken herald,

the dasheen bush inching lazily upward before they burst:
massive, heart-shaped, open

like the aftermath of an independence day fête—finally,
the uneasy owning of land. We learn that

all deeds are committed, all debts are owed and paid
in spite of our broken preferences for fire, to the land. To gravel and mud.

The light betrays what lays blue-black beneath my skin:
a legacy, forcing burdened confessions offered up like smoke.

These things—forgotten innocences, half-ripe conscience, pleasures
taken past their primes—fail eventually, resting motionless and diminutive

as an ant that ponders the distended
belly of an avocado in the yard.

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