'All Those Pretty Cumulous'

Ethan Fleisher

It’s warm in the morning here. You stir because I woke you. I brushed your cheek with my palm as I stretched. It was tepid and mild. I don’t know whether you’ll be angry or not. You’re not a morning person.

I look at you and you’re smiling. You look back at me. It’s raining outside, you say.


Are you going to make coffee?


Put extra cream in mine.

Of course: What you really mean when you say that is that you want a touch of coffee with your milk and sugar.

I slide from the bed. Your ankle gets tangled in mine. Your shirt is warm as my arm slides over your body. You’re slim and beautiful. Doubt is no longer really an option. It’s not on my agenda lately.

The warm sound of an oozing a.m. radio becomes one with the wind outside. The air is green and the sky is hazy. The atmosphere has become a quietly seeping miasma. Hello world.

I stumble from this room and I take the instant from the cupboard and stir it into boiling water. The sun would be waning all about us at this time but not this morning. A storm is brewing somewhere to the west. It will be here very soon.

You come from my room in a pair of baggy shorts and a tank top. You fell asleep in these clothes. Your hair is tired. Your eyes are waking slowly. I want powdered sugar in mine too, you say.

You’re picky.

Just do it.

You stand next to me and watch me like I could somehow misconstrue a cup of instant coffee. I watch your reflection in the mug.

It’s gonna storm, you sigh.


You go to the window and press your nose against the glass and watch the world from a voyeur’s point of view. There is no control over this great and sleeping earth but there is hope.

Almost done? You say.


I add the powdered sugar and stir it in like you like it. Then I walk across the kitchen and look out the window, too. You take your mug from my hand and take a sip. I kiss your forehead. It’s one of my favorite things to kiss on you.

Do you have to work today?

You nod.

I wish I could find a job.

Oh well.

The rain starts to come from above us. We should go outside, I suggest.

You smile. That’s a really good idea.

We walk to the edge of the shelter and then we step off and we’re vulnerable. The wind is warm and moist. You sip the coffee and you look at me with the eyes of a newborn fraught with wonder, the eyes of an ancient who has seen the old world it once knew and has almost forgotten, the eyes of the one I love and might as well love forever.

We’re very young, I say.

You nod. Yes, you agree. We’re very young but it doesn’t mean anything.

I like the way that sounds so I grab your hand and the world is old and new and everything can fall into place. Gravity holds our numb feet to the ground and God holds our fingers intertwined.

Do you want some of my coffee? You ask.

No thanks.

Suit yourself.

The western sky looks down on us and to the clouds I think, You don’t know what you’re dealing with.