Melina Casados


A daughter of Central American immigrants, Melina Casados grew up in North Carolina. Now living in Brooklyn, NY, she is an MFA candidate at Brooklyn College where she is also teaching English. Melina is the poetry editor for Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing. She was recently featured in Ice Colony's "What They Leave Behind Latinx Anthology" and has work forthcoming in "La Libreta".

Te ofrezco un café 

I bake some conchas,
and when they’re ready, they grow legs. 

It’s not until they’ve cooled that they grow arms
to pry themselves off the parchment paper.

They sit up for a moment, growing hands
to balance their seated posture
on my sheet pan. 

After a few minutes,
they tilt their bodies
towards my window
like there’s something
they can find there. 

These conchas are stoic;
known as the quiet ones
in their relationship with coffee. 

They watch coffee entertain guests
during dinner parties. They are the ones
who planned the menu and made dessert.
They rub coffee’s back
when they feel like calling it a night.
It takes coffee a minute, but coffee listens.
Coffee kindly and efficiently prompts
the guests to leave, often by creating
an excuse that indicates it was coffee’s
idea to end the night. Coffee has an instinct
to redirect any blame that could be placed
on conchas, a habit coffee’s therapist says
coffee likely picked up in childhood. 

It’s after everyone has left, when
they’re putting away dishes,
that conchas ask if coffee enjoyed
their evening. Coffee says something
like of course while acknowledging
that people can be pretty draining. 

They spend the rest of the night
comparing notes and observations
over the things people said and did.
They like doing that. They had complicated
upbringings you see, both processed
products of love and exploitation
(something to do with brown hands). 

I heard they focus on the love,
grieve the exploitation, and
process the ways they’ve been processed. 

But still, there’s something about how conchas
look out windows,
                               like they believe in gray areas.
Like they know coffee is a seed in its ancestral form,
and that conchas only exist when desired, made.

© The Acentos Review 2022