Grinding

November 23, 2017

They become alive in the kitchen, those wheat flour

particles that didn’t make it into the oven as dough

 

for our breakfast bread, and float around with the sunlight.

Dressed in black from head to toe, Grandma walks through

 

the beams and dissolves the vision. She stands by a rectangular

table, facing the garden, and starts grinding coffee with a heavy

 

Universal mill iron-clamped to the table. She turns

the crank holding it from the wooden handle. With

 

every turn she crushes the coffee beans more and more

until the crank has no more resistance coming from

 

inside the funnel and the beans have been all reduced

to powder. As the beans break, they release their

 

aroma, a presence as familiar as the 7 a.m. news

on the black and white TV. I want to turn the crank,

 

and she, as always, gives me a swift No, still turning

the crank, the pot with boiling water already on the stove.

 

Ill for a while, Grandpa died at the hospital two days ago.

He wanted to be cremated, his ashes released into the

 

ocean, sailor until the end. I heard Mom and Dad

asking about it. Grandma gave them a swift No.

 

That’s not the proper way. And she keeps grinding

the portion for today’s coffee, right before we go to

 

the funeral home. The coffee there, she says, is terrible.

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