Sweets and Coffee

We brush off the flour

by tapping the pieces against

the side of the box.

and clump by clump,

we savor the chewy dough,

the small bits of pistachio

clinging to the roofs of our mouths.


This most sublime of sweets,

according to our guest,

shoots from the hole

between an insect’s legs,

to be collected sweet and sticky

from a plant in north Iraq..

Al mann, Iraqis call it,

after the white substance

which fell from heaven

upon the wandering Jews.


The richest coffee in the world,

we tell our friend,

is grown in Bali,

the beans digested by a civet

and shat out in his cage

at seventy bucks a pot.


We sip it slowly

from a china demi-tasse

just to get our money’s worth

and take another piece of mann,

marveling that the most exalted tastes

should come from such a lowly place.


(originally published in A Touch of Saccarine)


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