Chock Full O' Nuts

The Gap stands where
you took me for
cream cheese on date nut bread
my favorite sandwich, warm in
then palace of heavenly coffee

Where democratic counters gleamed
and seats spiraled to lift
my smaller self upward

Where, yes, in my lifetime
we were always seated and served,
a black girl child and her mother
hangin’ out in the empire city

Only you inhabit this memory
We, together in the shopping endeavor,
nourishing and sheltering after that special work
for you, a pleasure I never fully understood

Where you offer choices
and soft conversation
I want what you drink:
hot black cuppa java
scant spoonful of sugar and cream, cream
poured from ribbed glass and steel containers,
stirred by your stainless,
held just so

I eat the slender sandwich half, slowly,
mouth closed, chewing,
breathing this in
We are out together

Where you pay for me
and smile

Better coffee a millionaire’s
money can’t buy.

by Akua Lezli Hope

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