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A Brief History Of Coffee

Dear Milwaukee,

Do you remember 1982? How your air was saying Yes, World Series, Robin Yount, how on every empty lot, kids were throwing perfect double-plays. How the whole town was sliding into a dream. How I was sliding into a bad dream and didn’t even know it. You smelled like coffee.

Dear Third Shift,

Mornings, I walked home through Shorewood, up North Murray, past the little shops on Capitol, home to our first apartment with the sad gingham curtains in the kitchen. I wouldn’t drink after 3 am, but I measure the grounds for the day crew, flipped the switch at 6:30.

Dear Sue Johnson,

Then you got that sweet place of your own, couple blocks from Lake Michigan. You had your own quiet, your own huge white mugs, your own coffee grinder. All these years later I think of you when I grind the beans.

Dear Coffee Trader,

Remember me with the spiral notebooks and hours of pencils? My special order raspberry latte? I’m on my second Chemex. I still can’t make it taste the same.

Dear Fortune Cookie,

I wish I would have opened you up and read: Buy a coffee grinder of your own. Learn to say x husband in Chinese.

Dear Little Plastic Coffee Filter Holder,

My boyfriend knocked you off the picnic table twice, but still you made the best cup of coffee ever. You didn’t see us, but we sat by the river all morning. Leaves were falling. It was all because of you.

Dear Sex,

I always say coffee is better, but, poetry says i'm not obligated to tell the truth.

Dear October 2011,

The Brewers, almost. Milwaukee, again. I've had to go to decaf for my heart. Still, some things never stop.  Someone always believes in morning or baseball or a hot cuppa.

Dear Misshapen Mug I Didn't Buy at the Verona Coffee Shop,

The Brewers lost in that final game, 1982, but the city stayed on fire.  Dear Brewers, Dear Hope, Dear Even Today, Dear Ceramic in Someone Else's Kitchen, Dear Sue...(forgive me, the smell of coffee does this.)

Dear Every Morning,

I wrap my hands around you, dear coffee grinder, dear white mug, dear place of my own.





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Jeanie Tomasko is the author of a few books of poetry and creator of The Blue Dog Blog, a painting and adventure series at jeanietomasko.com. She is a retired RN, and she and her husband share a home with two overstuffed cats and one wonderful cattle dog.


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