Coffee Pot Elegy

April 6 – In 6 days, a year ago, Bruce had the surgery that launched the cascade of tissue death and damage from radiation that killed him. This time a year ago, he was just beginning to be able to enjoy coffee again and was eating solid food.

You migrated through three coffee routines in the years I knew you before you died. When we first met you had a Mr Coffee machine, which I recently found under the sink in the kitchen. I pulled it out and moved it to the living room next to the door, ready to be given away. It’s still there. Then you got those little pentagonal aluminum Italian cafeteria style espresso makers, first one small one, then two, and they lived on the little shelf at the back of the range. I gave those away to a family from Ukraine that emigrated with one suitcase for each of them – man, woman, child. They needed everything. I gave them a lot.

You replaced the aluminum pots with a stainless steel one exactly like mine, except it wasn’t like mine because mine was blackened around the base and the lid was askew as I had dropped it once and the hinge that held the lid got bent in such a way I couldn’t bend it back. When you saw the damage you commented it was better because it poured smoothly now.

Your pot has been on the back of the range for a long time unused. You had to stop drinking coffee sometime after the radiation started to damage the tissue in your throat and I just kept using my own pot, black and perfected until I forgot it at Miriam’s during my most recent visit to New York. I realized I had left it behind about an hour into my drive and decided not to go back for it, to wait until my next trip to retrieve it. When I got back I started using your pot and understood exactly why you said my pot was better: the tight lid meant the coffee dribbled down the front of the pot below the spout.

Last week I accidentally dropped your pot and the hinge that holds the lid got bent in such a way I couldn’t bend it back. If you were here to see the damage you would laugh and say I fixed it.

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