The 2River View 23.4 (Summer 2019)

Charles Finn

Morning Coffee

They would wake early and take their morning coffee on the porch, the FabergĂ© rise of the sun theirs for the taking. She’d salute the yellow orb with a tiny bow of her head and he’d raise his mug. Then they’d settle into the wicker rockers that once belonged to her mother. The chairs kept time, they liked to think, with the past and the present. Ritual was everything, and the birds, the morning light, they brought a great calmness. After a while, he’d reach over and take her hand and she knew they were building an architecture of happiness together, one that would never be torn down. Even on the overcast or fog wrapped mornings they sat there, a pair of mute cranes in their bathrobes and slippers. They did this without speaking, listening to the progression of bird song, to the flute-like and chime-filled voices—and it mattered, mattered very much. By the time they finished their coffee, they had heard everything they needed to know.


She dreams of white swans sitting on dark patches of lake. Hawks, lifted by thermals, pegging themselves to the midday sun. She dreams of grizzly bears making jam in their bellies, and beavers hoarse from shouting when their trees come down. Lying awake in the pre-dawn light she dreams these things, and he can feel her beside him, going deeper and deeper into the animals’ lives. Most often she dreams of birds, of an inexplicable pull, flying south with the moon for weeks on end. She wants this she tells him, how she longs for an uncontrollable ache rather than the one she has. He doesn’t say anything, but in the morning he takes her out to the lake where the migrating waterfowl stop over, where they make love, where together they walk, hand in hand, as far and as fast as they can.

Charles Finn is the editor of the literary and fine arts magazine High Desert Journal and author of Wild Delicate Seconds: 29 Wildlife Encounters (OSU Press 2012).

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