Aline's Coffee

Aline’s Coffee

I saw for the first time

your beauty,

casual as a flower.

I noticed you as I was

stepping off a morning train

and then I came to know you,

making sense of your presence

with my sleepy eyes and mind.

You looked expectant

and also matter-of-fact

about possibilities

before you.

We talked,

and even your nervousness


It looked like a form of play.

We drank Canadian caffeine

at Tim Hortons, and your shared words

conducted heat and pleasantry

and strong character

like South American

coffee beans,

which you sipped from girl to woman;

those better beans characterized

your early impressions of warmth.

I had a friend once

who told me that nicotine stench

was for her a maternal

and comforting fragrance,

because her mother always

buttoned up her tiny coat

before sending her to school

and her mother’s fingers smelled strongly

of cigarettes! Desperate cylinders,

But the scent was not associated

with self-destructive habit.

It was a comfort smell

because cigarettes comforted

her supreme comforter.

And so I think for you

the rich aroma

of beans from South America

evokes nostalgia and formation

equally as powerful as the taste.

In a future month,

you would admit

“it’s just funny

that you guys think that you drink coffee.”

You would describe our coffee as

“truly tea of coffee with caffeine inside.”

And I so I learned more

about Colombian and Brazilian coffees

that shaped you

by repeating their comfort

to the fullest extent, in countless memories.

I learned that coffee,

the second most traded commodity,

enables the artistic element

when connoisseurs discuss

body, aroma, and legends

unlocked by brewing.

But in this memory,

with lower beverages between us,

in a yearning province and snow nation,

I looked at you and tried to feel you

through the numbing effects

of my own fatigue,

and through that sleepiness

you found and awoke me

and we visited the open grass

of a park, near a university

in the middle of a bustling city.

What is a man supposed to say,

once captured by the sight of a woman?

We often say “you’re beautiful,”

Because it seems wrong to say

“Congratulations on your body.”

That undermines the compliment,

and such congratulations are deserved

by every soul miraculously


The tree branches above us rebalanced,

careful in the summer breeze,

and patches of light danced upon you

as if the sun was as excited as me

by what he saw.

And we could feel a bang

on the shores of our hearts,

and a very real rumble beneath our backs.

“Is that a train?” I asked, and you said it was,

pointing to the subway station

at the corner of the court,

And I found it wildly amusing, that for us

We were convinced we were on top of grass,

Temporarily delivered to the natural land

When, in fact, we were on the roof

of a concrete cave containing

crowded passengers, all submitting

to times and coordinated schedules,

Unaware that over their heads

A man and young woman

rested and adjusted to newfound comfort,

rebels in their randomness.

I touched you, leaned over you,

And we kissed while prevailing

over that subtle rumble.

The totality of my desire,

All I wanted to monopolize:

She breathed gently between my chest

and vibrating earth.

David Pring-Mill

David Pring-Mill is a writer and filmmaker. His writing has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The National Interest, openDemocracy, and elsewhere. He also edited the literary anthology "Tiny Moments." Over 80 of his poems have been published to date. Follow him online:,

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