Mama sprinkled sumac on greasy burgers
because fast food smelled like burning tires.
Aleppo pepper drizzled like red rain
on the macaroni and cheese. She added
a pinch of cumin on the Cobb salad
because the ranch dressing felt naked
on her tongue. Every dish needed olive oil.
The tap water needed sprigs of mint
because it tasted like gun barrel rust.
In American supermarkets, plastic containers
packaged the dark roast like rodent droppings.
She read in the coffee residue, the fiery
roadblocks of Beirut, the engulfing belly
of the black smoke, and the scorching virgins
clawing against the wall of her demitasse.