Ritual by William DeGenaro


At Nice Coffee in Amman,
a video plays on repeat:
pilgrims in the holy city
of Mecca circling the Kabba.

Nice Coffee serves tea,
Turkish coffee, Nescafe,
the same barista always
twisting the knobs,
fiddling with the three
open flames from the three
gas tanks below the counter.
They boil water with
improbable speed.

Two teen boys work the cars.
Morning commuters pull
to the side of the busy road,
roll down their windows,
place their orders, maybe
a tea with lots of sugar
and a pack of cigarettes,
and their order is brought
to their window.

All that is to say
blessings on the man
whose tea needed something more
and, since the delivery boys
were busy, left the car running,
dashed into Nice Coffee
and snipped three mint leaves
from the plant on the counter.


William DeGenaro is a Michigan-based teacher and writer and a two-time Fulbright scholar. His creative work has appeared most recently in Windsor Review, Literary Orphans, and Shot Glass Journal.

One thought on “Ritual by William DeGenaro

  1. love how the last stanza pulls it all together.
    “the man whose tea needed something more”.. subtle but deep.

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