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Recorded as part of the Poem-a-Day series, September 15, 2015
About this Poem 

“In order to make a wedding poem for my friend Leah, I drew on something that has almost become a ritual—each Saturday morning my husband, David, and I walk north, to the farmer’s market by the woods of Isham Park at the northern end of Manhattan Island. Then, bags laden with fruit and vegetables, we go for coffee. Sitting in the coffee shop I started to conceive of this poem.”
—Meena Alexander

Darling Coffee

The periodic pleasure
of small happenings
is upon us—
behind the stalls
at the farmer’s market
snow glinting in heaps,
a cardinal its chest
puffed out, bloodshod
above the piles of awnings,
passion’s proclivities;
you picking up a sweet potato
turning to me  ‘This too?’—
query of tenderness
under the blown red wing.
Remember the brazen world?
Let’s find a room
with a window onto elms
strung with sunlight,
a cafe with polished cups,
darling coffee they call it,
may our bed be stoked
with fresh cut rosemary
and glinting thyme,
all herbs in due season
tucked under wild sheets:
fit for the conjugation of joy.

Copyright © 2015 by Meena Alexander. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 15, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by Meena Alexander. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 15, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Meena Alexander

Meena Alexander

Meena Alexander was born in Allahabad, India, in 1951. Her poetry collections include Atmospheric Embroidery (TriQuarterly Books, 2018).

by this poet

poem
I was young when you came to me. 
Each thing rings its turn, 
you sang in my ear, a slip of a thing 
dressed like a convent girl—
white socks, shoes, 
dark blue pinafore, white blouse.

A pencil box in hand: girl, book, tree—
those were the words you gave me. 
Girl was penne, hair drawn back, 
gleaming on
poem

Snails circle
A shed where a child was born.

She bled into straw—
Who can write this?

Under Arcturus,
Rubble of light:

We have no words
For what is happening—

Still language endures
Celan said

As he stood in a torn
Green coat

poem
Kasr Avenue was where the birds lived,
In a mud silo millet seeds flourished
 
All winter long and through the dry season
Laila was in my soul, also Majnoon’s madness.
 
I was a girl growing up and you, crossing the
Nile—yes a flat boat is all you had—
 
Came in, trousers wet and flapping,
Sat down with your back
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