I’m drinking my coffee
The label says “Hamwi Café — since 1951,
Damascus countryside, Syria”
I’m drinking my Syrian coffee,
I take it black and strong
Its bitterness is pleasing to my tongue
My nephew picked it up for me
From some airport in the Middle East
From Syria? Not likely…
Who’d want to go there now?
I’m drinking the coffee my nephew bought
in Jeddah, in Dubai or Abu Dhabi
But not in Damascus or Aleppo
Who wants to go there now?
I’m drinking and thinking
of the Syrian people
in their bombed-out cities,
In transit in some leaky boat,
Stuck at some muddy European border,
Behind the fence of a refugee camp
Or turned back at the airport.
I’m drinking this Syrian coffee
Does the factory still stand,
in the Damascus countryside?
The packet tells me cheerfully:
“Enjoy the taste of Hamwi Café!”
I think of the Syrian people
Their fate so black and bitter, so unpalatable.