It was my mother who first introduced me to coffee. I was quite young when I realized that coffee would be a passion for me. I know, to some people, coffee is coffee, but not to me. I’ve discovered that coffee does not taste the same in every cup. After my mother passed away in 2010, I brought home some of her dishes. I now know that the coffee that tastes the best is what I drink in Mama’s cup.
A welcome aroma fills my kitchen—
a pot of fresh coffee brewing
on a bright, chilly morning.
Steaming dark magic flows
into my empty, hopeful cup.
Not just any cup, mind you.
This one was Mama’s cup.
Pottery glazed with bands
of moss green, saffron yellow,
orange, and creamy white;
painted swirls of leaves and vines,
touches of ripe, red berries.
There’s a small chip in the rim.
My lips don’t touch that spot
so long as I hold the handle just right.
Scratches show plinks and bumps
her cup endured every day.
It’s stained by thousands of ounces
of coffee she drank over the years.
I can’t throw away my mother’s cup
just because it’s chipped and worn.
I have my own chips and stains,
the marks and bruises of life.
I have lots of cups in my cupboard,
graced with dozens of different designs:
angels, cherries, birds, and flowers.
Mugs bought in faraway places.
Big cups, small cups, tall, and short.
Fine china, gold rims—
I offer those to guests.
The same coffee from my kitchen
may pour into any of those cups,
but it doesn’t taste as good to me
as the coffee I drink from Mama’s cup.
Carroll S. Taylor