Forgotten Coffee


“Coffee, please.”
“It’s 9 AM, regular with cream.”

Regular with cream.
One more cup prepared to scream
in her face as she asked me again.

“Coffee, please. Where’s my coffee?”

Floating grounds she left behind.
Cold, untouched coffee.
Simmering requests
for another brew.

Daily the chime,
routinely by nine,
but again at one and three.

“Coffee, please.”

Counting cups.
She never knew
how many.

“Where’s my coffee?
It never came.
What are those
shapes you draw that
make my name?”

Cup #204. Letters.
They are letters. My name is Rachel. Yours is Rose. They are letters.

“Numbers and letters.
My address at home:
The coffee.
Is on
the porch.”

The coffee is on the porch of
the house that she
can still see, but
no one can find.

Daily the chime,
routinely by nine,
but again at one and three.

“Coffee, please.”

My name is Rachel.
For seventeen years I have brought you
warm coffee.

The shoe factory
where she once worked
smelled of leather.

“And oak,” she said.

Like the porch swing
he built and stained from
the bent trees
that lost
in that storm of
And then forgot how to grow them again.

“Where’s my coffee?”
It never came.”
She insisted. Always. The absence of its presence.

My presence was with its presence.
Rachel. Your caretaker. For seventeen years. I have made your coffee.

“I met a man today who called himself, ‘William.’
Or Wes? He said he knew me. A tease.
A pleasure!
My lips tingled the happiest tingle when he said,
“Good morning, Mary.”

Cup #231. Wesley. Your husband.
Wesley is the name of your husband. You married in 1943.

“Wesley’s a handsome name.
But I wish he had called me Violet.
Or –
Rose. Yes. No. Maybe. Mary?
Rose, Rose, Violet. Rose.”

Here’s your coffee.
It’s Rose.
Wesley kissed you.
Do you remember?

“Coffee, please.”
Do you remember? My name is Rachel. His name is Wesley. Your name is Rose.

“The porch needs fresh paint. The railing is like a drowsy friend.
Bill can do it. My fingers are tired.
324W. The coffee is on
the porch.”

Cold, untouched coffee.

Daily the chime,
routinely by nine,
but again at one and three.

“Coffee, please.”
The cream and sugar were empty.
Powdered crescents remained.
The stale, forgotten cookies
frowned at

I always brought the coffee.

She was a schoolteacher
whom children adored.

She was a wife
for whom her husband loved.

She was a coffee drinking, confabulating friend
Who rarely sipped any more.

“Where’s my coffee?
It never came.
Where’s this husband,
Who doesn’t know my name?”

“There were mums
on the porch.

He planted them in the fall when
Chilled air came and black cats guarded the pumpkins on the porch.
Their leaves always so crisp they scratched my fingers.”

Cup #259. Autumn.
Wesley planted the mums during autumn.

“Numbers and letters.
Wesley. Autumn.
Rose. Rose.
Rose Leigh Calstead who lives at W423 Hillside Avenue.
The coffee is still on the front porch swing.
Fallen oak.
Abandoned branches.
That tree withered with worry.
It still can’t sing.
The way Bill had promised.”
His name is Wesley. Your name is Rose. Please tell me you know I’m Rachel.

Cold, untouched coffee.
Simmering requests
of memory.

“Coffee, please!”
“It’s 9 AM! Regular with cream!
Regular. With cream.
Regular with cream and
crescent moons.”

Don’t stare at me.
I’m not to blame.
Can you, Rose, please recite my name?

The paint-chipped porch left habitual slivers in her
weary hands.

Every morning at 9 AM, I served her coffee.

The coffee that remains on
the porch of the house
she can still see,
but no one
can find.

“Coffee, please. “


Tree branches.
Teaching. Children.
Hillside Street.
Coffee. Please.
Married. 324W. Avenue. Hillside.
Three uneven steps
the gentlest wind could disturb
Creaking ceaselessly.

A porch swing, barren white railing.
Rocking chair, unkempt cushion.
Wicker table, clouded glass top.

A ceramic rooster.
A threadbare Bible.
A stained mug of untouched coffee.

Daily the chime,
routinely at nine,
but again at one and three.

It’s 9 AM and I only wish she knew me.
I only wish she knew me like she knew the railing of her paint-chipped porch.

Cup #297. Paint. I painted the porch. Again.

I count 298 cups of coffee
and the first one is still
screaming its reminder –


I never forgot
The coffee.

Written By Andrea Cladis

Bio: Andrea Cladis is a former journalist and high school English teacher currently working as a fitness professional and freelance writing consultant. She is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Elmhurst College with degrees in English, Communications, and French. At present, Andrea is pursuing an MFA in Writing from Fairfield University. Andrea's poetry, prose, and research have been published in The Greek Star, Kane County Magazine (Shaw Media), academic journals including SAGE: “E-Learning and Digital Media,” and online entertainment and news publications including Thought Catalog and Patch Media. Her first non-fiction book, Finding the Finish Line: Navigating the Race of Life through Faith and Fitness, was released in 2017 by Crosslink Publishing.

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