Contest Issue - Vol.10,
No.56, 2007 FIRST PLACE WINNER - POETRY Amma Coffee by Sharron Arksey (MB)
When I was young
our grandma gave us thimblefuls of coffee
in thick white mugs
filled to the brim with milk.
Amma coffee, we called it,
love laced with caffeine.
On Wednesday afternoons after school,
she served us pancakes:
rolled around sweetness;
brown sugar crumbly.
“Elskin”, she said,
the soft rhythm of her syllables
wrapping around us like one of her handmade quilts
and keeping us warm
against her chest.
She knit thick gray mittens
for my father, the fisherman,
and dried them on the floor beside the hot air register.
The scent of slick, slimy scales still clung
to the wool,
even after washing.
Pieces of a shared past
sift through the spaces in my life
and settle in unexpected places:
a daughter named for the morning,
Christmas Eve at Amma’s;
a ja for yes, a nei for no;
watching waves on a big lake;
and waiting for the men to come home.