Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Journal of a Coffee Mug During an Ordeal

Coffee Mug

I was not surprised to hear coffee brewing at 3:00 a.m.

They had been talking about their vacation
Practically without cessation for a month and more,
And I was only mildly surprised that she choose me
To fill, to fill her, to wake her up.

It was a bit of a disconcertment to be left on the counter
Only half-empty with rapidly cooling liquid —
My natural optimism urged me to think of myself
As half full.

I soon found that I could be sanguine for only so long
Before I started to feel like an infant with a soiled diaper.
Once again, I suffered futile fantasies of animation —
Would that be anymore outlandish than my anomalous sapience?

I had not yet begun to worry, though.
If nothing else, I have a memory that is strong
To compensate for my obvious weaknesses.
I remembered that they had arranged to have a friend
Come over and attend to the house in their absence.
I was, if nothing else, certainly part of this home.

She came.
She brought the mail in.
She fed the cat.
She left.

It was only a few iterations before I resigned myself
To the realization that this was going to be her routine,
Only varied by the occasionally emptied litter box.
I suppose that she thought that I could attend to myself.

By the fifth day, I was starting to feel desperate.
I could sense that mold was starting to grow on the coffee,
That I was going to become an unintentional petri dish.

I actually began to hope that the cat would knock me over.
Better to have this vile stuff out of me,
Better to simply be proximate to this filth,
Better, even, to risk being shattered than to suffer this.

It was not to be.
The cat was incongruously mindful of the countertop.
It was appropriate that my fickle fortunes
Would be emblemized by a feline.

Two full weeks I suffered.
The caffeinated muck actually started to penetrate my pores.
If self-destruction had been within my potential
My owners would have returned to the duty
Of disposing me into the dustbin.

I dreamt that they would have wept.

Eventually they did return.
She, the wife, made a terrible face when she saw me.
I wanted, so very badly, to curse her.
It was your carelessness, I would say.
This is your failure, I would assert.
This is your duty to repair, I would demand.

But I lie.

I would have been a good container.
I would have begged to be cleaned.
One does not berate one's god to their face.
Fortunately, I am silent by design.

She filled the sink with warm, soapy water
And disdainfully tossed me in.
I chipped myself against the porcelain.
I was too warm and happy to care —
Until she took me out.

She gave me a hard look, and I was afraid.

I would suffer an eternity of holding
All of the filth of the world
Than to ever see that look directed at me.
I was certain that she would discard me
And that I would live the remainder of my days
Slowly sinking to the middle of a midden heap.

Finally, she put me in the back of the cabinet
Out of the light,
Out of sight,
Out of mind —
Blessedly, out of harms way.

I am happy here.
I think that I have an aptitude for hermitage.
If I had hands, and cups of my own,
I would drink a toast to my newfound solitude.

Photo courtesy of Justin Baeder

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