Lena Khalaf Tuffaha

Issue #
September 7, 2014

How Never to Serve Arabic Coffee

Never let the coffee boil over,
you need to keep the crema and
spoon a little into each cup.
It’s like a smiling face to welcome your guests.

And never serve coffee without ground cardamom,
It’s like saying
I didn’t dress up for you, I put on no perfume.

And never serve your guests coffee without sugar.
It’s like saying
You are bitter company
and never
sweeten your lover’s afternoon coffee.
It’s like saying
Your lips aren’t sweet enough for me.

And never
never pour too much into one cup.
It’s like saying
My heart is too full for you
and never
serve the coffee without
a glass of water to quench
thirst and soften the conversation.

And never
never serve the coffee first.
It’s like saying
You’ve been here too long.
Coffee’s acrid kiss is for farewells.

And never
your whole live long life
umrek bi hayaatik
never read your lover’s coffee cup.
It’s like saying
I am not afraid to lose you.
Fortune-telling is not for the faint of heart,
leave that to your mother.

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