Every morning,
when I stir my coffee,
I think of you.

You were the one who taught me
to bring the spoon up to the top
so as not to leave all the sugar
at the bottom of the mug.

I think of the way you made my dying mother,
your sister, cry,
when we flew over the ocean to visit where she came from.

I think of your quick cruelty
and understand why she traveled over oceans
to get away from you.

I think of how,
after she died,
you were the only person on her side of the family
to stay in touch with us.

I think of how  even that tenuous connection is lost.

Finally, I think of the way the ocean
that has always separated us from you,
the vast ocean she knew to put between us,
always manages to stir things-
bringing things to the surface
and letting them rest at the bottom.

Sometimes, in its endless churning,
something beautiful rises up.
And sometimes,
something unfamiliar and ugly washes to the shore-
no longer a part of the cycle-
now it is for beach tourists
to wonder, poke at and photograph.

This is my last thought
before tasting my coffee,
the drink you taught me how to stir.