Bitter Beans and Water

A Coffee House Scandal

Two scoops, an early rise,

Roasted beans and water.

Twelve cups, two mugs

Bitter beans and water.


Tinkling bells, jostling coats

“Good morning, Frank!”

Had he heard the news?

News, news? What news?

Well, sit a while, have a cup


Two scoops, a stove,

Roasted beans and water.

Ten cups, two mugs

Bitter beans and water.


Shuffled paper, scraping boots

It was a terrible night, did you know?

Heard the sirens way out here.

Sirens? No, the sheriff? The big red engine?

Yes, yes, both of those.


Two scoops, a cigarette,

Roasted beans and water.

Eight cups, two mugs

Bitter beans and water.


Clinking mugs, a creaking chair

He’d left the dial turned all night

That rickety old stove, it filled the house

That’s what they said, had to be

An accident like that.


Two scoops, an accident

Roasted beans and water.

Six cups, two mugs

Bitter beans and water.


Tinkling bells, jostling coats

“Margaret? You’re here?”

The disbelief rang high, surprised.

Well, of course she was,

Just like every morning.


Two scoops, a change

Roasted beans and water.

Three cups, three mugs

Bitter beans and water.


Murmured questions, shuffling feet

Hadn’t she been home? Of course!

But how? It’d been blown by fiery propane.

Surprised, what now? Can’t be

The way it is.


Two scoops, one lie

Roasted beans and water.

No cups, three mugs

Bitter beans and water.


Tumbling words, a soiled excuse

She’d spent the night away.

No matter where, but who was home

To fill the void in her husband's bed?

A burnt crisp woman, a Jane Doe.


Two scoops, two lies

Roasted home and water.

No cups, no mugs

Bitter beans and water.


Tinkling bells, jostling coats

Who was the woman, other?

“Have you seen my Sarah?”

Well, no, when’d she leave?

Last night to call on Margie.


Two scoops, two lives

Roasted homes and liars,

No cups, no mugs

Bitter truth and water.


Quiet tears, silent prayers

The story’s all out now.

Sarah died last night, my dear

Sleeping with another, terrible

Accident old chap, a fire or —


Two scoops, bad lines,

Roasted cheats and water.

Old cusps, bad love

Bitter beans and water.

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Bitter Beans and Water