The best days start slow. Dawn light leaking
past curtains, weakening as the year turns to face
Winter. The best days pull me behind 
two dachshunds into the world. Always a wonder,
frosted silver, dripping rain, fragrant with old leaves,
new flowers, spit snowflakes or warmed with birdsong.
The best days begin with perfect coffee, dark roast,
chocolate shaken in, one, two, a couple packets
of sweetener, cinnamon dashed, a drop of cream.
Scent of it drags the dogs and me up the stairs,

into the house. They anticipate their breakfast.
Sometimes I mix the ratio wrong. Magical potion
imbalances, and the day follows suit.
The best days catch up correspondence on my tablet in bed,
dogs laid like logs between my legs, cat in the window
daring the sun for warmth. The best days start with stories, I am
still the child who asks for a story before bed.
Stories, poetry, a necessity like air or water or food.
No other cup of coffee matters like that first one. 
It can make or break the day that weaves above the mug 
writhing ribbons of steam.

By Rachael Ilkins


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