He doesn’t sleep through
the night any more. He’s up
before dawn most mornings.
In his kitchen he fills the Teflon
hot pot with water and places
it back on the stove, plugs it in.
His coffee cup is speckled white
with a band of red; it’s an early
commercial plastic prototype
from the 1950s. He may have
crafted the cup while in his job
in industrial research in Columbus.
He cradles jar of instant, spoons
a careful rounded teaspoon into
the cup. When the water boils,
he pours his first cup of coffee.
He lays spoon on the copper-
colored drip pan and places his
red hard plastic lid over the top
of the cup to hold in the heat.
From the top of the refrigerator
he takes down his weather record-
keeping materials. He puts on his
boots and steps out the back door.
He walks between the first two
water tanks, by the greenhouse
he built, and out along the path
to his weather station. He records
the night’s weather data and thinks
about the hot coffee waiting for him.
I miss mornings with Dad. I miss
seeing him and thinking about him
sitting at his desk in the kitchen –
thinking and figuring things out,
writing and planning. I miss his
coffee cup, its perfect lid, him.
Andrew Shattuck McBride
April 27, 2012
For my poem “Mornings” I used Robert Lee Brewer’s NaPoWriMo Day 23 prompt, “Write a morning poem” from his Poetic Asides blog:
Hey, we’re nearly done with NaPoWriMo 2012!
What a quiet, meticulous morning poem. The making-coffee and checking-weather details lend an immediacy to the poem that make the turn toward memory in the final stanza all the more powerful because those details have been so richly observed. (Makes me want to know, in fact: what were *you* doing and thinking as you watched him perform these rituals so many times?) Thanks for another great read.
Dear Jennifer, thank you very much.
A perceptive, essential question! I draw on my observations of Dad’s morning routine when I was a teenager (a long, long time ago!) and on my thinking of him living on in Volcano, with all of his family members departed to the Mainland.
Kim Stafford wrote about his father William Stafford’s morning routine, and it resonated with me. William Stafford drank instant coffee and so did Dad. Now I do, too.
Thanks again, Andy