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Every morning I make coffee for Gwendolyn. I grind the beans in our kitchen and use a stovetop espresso maker for her noisette, which I bring her in bed. We have started to keep the heavy metal grate over the lone window in our bedroom open all night, although it protects us from interlopers wandering up or down the fire escape, because the light is so welcome. After I give Gwendolyn her coffee I take Virgil out for a walk in the little park next to our building, in front of the elementary school.

I used to drink my coffee in the living room, looking out our windows toward Lake Michigan. It just felt too slovenly to get back into bed on a weekday— but Gwendolyn is deeply unconflicted about this slight indulgence of hers. Whether she has been working all weekend, staying up late to grade papers, or just sleeping for twelve straight hours, she drinks her coffee in bed, every morning, with the newspaper. And as soon as he has had his breakfast Virgil leaves me to rejoin her.

Recently I have realized that drinking coffee in the morning isn’t something I need. Already before 8 am my heart is racing and I can feel myself starting to tingle, although we have not had a warm spring morning yet. When I do dishes after breakfast I fling them into the sink; we are down to one white bowl now, and all of the red pasta bowls are chipped. Gwendolyn doesn’t cook, so she hasn’t noticed that almost all of the glass storage containers we bought are gone from our cabinets.

This morning I got it right. I brought Gwendolyn her coffee, and then I drank decaffeinated tea in the white chair in our living room. I was reading when I heard her say something from the bedroom like, “There’s a hawk on the water tower!” I pressed my forehead to the window but I couldn’t see it. “Where?” I asked. “Come here!” she said.

I walked quietly to the bedroom. The hawk was on our fire escape, about six feet from where Gwendolyn was sitting. It turned its head and one eye directly toward me, and I stood still until it turned away again. The wind ruffled the hawk’s feathers and showed the red underside of its tail. Its beak looked as if it had just been sharpened: it curved toward an endlessly fine point. After about a minute the hawk flexed its legs and jumped off the fire escape. When its wings were outstretched it seemed to brush our window momentarily, just before it left us quietly alone.

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