The Kentucky Coffee Tree

By Michael H. Brownstein
drops long seed pods on the school playground,
the walkway to the front door, at the curb,
and just about everywhere in the grass near the street..
My students and I collect them for our science activity,
open each slender pod as if they were a surprise package
and it's not even close to the Christmas holidays.
They research the tree, the pods, the poisons within 
make graphs of the average number of seeds per pod,
find the median, the mode, and they tell me,
We are too young to drink coffee, even if this may be weak,
and we will not chew the seeds without letting them roast--
they are toxic. Better to drink tea from moringa leaves,
teas made from herbs and flowers, dandelions even,
but you are old enough. Let's roast them and see what you think.
So we do. Roast them for a long time--they are toxic--
and they tell me, Didn't you make us grow mushrooms?
When they were ready, you sampled them first.
Remember the field trip where you ate greens in a field?
The seeds have roasted long enough. This is what they meant to say.
Try it. They are engaged, glued to me, my cup of roasted beans
boiling now in water--a long time--and they say,
Time. Drink it now. So I do, a tentative sip, too hot,
another, cool it down, a large gulp, smile, drink a bit more
and it is coffee, not that strong, but interesting and flavorful.
When Christmas break arrives, they bring brightly wrapped gifts,
everyone of them Kentucky coffee beans from their street
already roasted and ready to brew, and this makes me happy.
Fuel your muse

5% of sales benefit the Durham Literacy Center. This medium-dark roast blend is a partnership with our fellow B-Corp Certified friends at Lulu Press.

View options