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.