dad and uncle merve and a cup of joe

coffee escapes into steam

blows from kitchen to living room


where it finds me,

sitting in my dad’s rocker that squeaks

with every single back and forth sweep

along a brown shag carpet

i stop, to watch


my dad shuffles across the uneven linoleum floor,

his slippers scrape with each dragging step


he stands at the counter

pours himself a cup of joe


then shuffles back to the kitchen table

sits down on his comfy chair, delicately


my uncle goes in the kitchen

his eye glasses sit on his balding forehead

the white hair is bright against his brown skin


he wears a soft looking light blue robe

it is tied loosely at the waist


“good morning, arnold”


my dad looks up from his paper


“good morning, merv”


and so it begins.


arnold and merv scoop spoonfuls of sugar

into the awaiting black liquid


creams splashes into the black

it swirls and turns various shades of brown


together, my dad and uncle

dip silver spoons into the coffee


“it’s a good day, ain’t it merv?”


merv stares out the window

nods his head

stirs the spoon


“yep… it’s a good day”


arnold stares out the window too

nods his head

stirs the spoon


spoons held expertly between

thumbs and fingers

big, brown and strong


spoons stirring – stirring – stirring


spoons seem heavy hitting every angle in the cup

clinking – clinking – clinking

i had no idea there were so many angles


“yes-siree bob”


“yes-siree bob”


“yep it’s a good day… yes-siree bob”


“yes-siree bob”


spoons are cast aside on a shared saucer


arnold brings the cup up to his lips

it steams-up his bi-focals

he blows

he slurps


merv does the same


i listen in the next room

witness this morning ritual

it is easy, simple, comfortable


this is how i get to know my father through these interactions. i learn that repetitiveness and mimicking are comforting


and i learn that not much else has to be said in order to know someone


or maybe you know someone so well, your entire life, that words don’t need to spoken at all.


and it’s all about these small, almost insignificant and tedious things that signify some thing more like acceptance and unconditional love.


and i pack up this memory

and let it air out once in a while

yessirree bob.


for my father, arnold wabegijig sr. and my uncle merv wabegijig who out there dancing in the milky way looking for a perfect cup of joe.


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