Tea from Ceylon
Kettles from Constantinople
A lost smile from a childhood dream
All gathered in a slurring saucer
Kiss your tea, said your love, kiss
it like you kiss mangoes freshly fallen
wrap yourself in the wind like a tree
release your glow into the sea
with time the mountains grow stoic
and every footstep towards the river
turns heavy with the promise of an end
Tea. 6.16 am. Retro-pop
plays on your radio, the cat
yawning and upturned, curling
corner where your quilt acts
as a heater, the spoon tinkers
like a bell, you
remember the temple, don’t you?
Scent of drizzle and white flowers
the child you, becoming
medicine for sad mornings, slowly
into one page
of a new book, unwritten
but revisited. Tea, 6.19 am, brewed.
This honey though, weak and plastic,
nothing compares to the beehive, above
the temple wall
Cream biscuits. Butter.
A rusting toaster. Late afternoon.
4.15 pm, the light slants
into a crowded room
smelling of sleeping books.
a trembling forearm. White
felt by the ceiling fan. Tobaccco.
An overused pipe. A fluttering flame.
Within you, seventy years
of old bad habits. A dead son,
an estranged daughter
bits and pieces of friends
some finished and some almost there
like biscuits. Breaking.
Vanishing carefully. Apart from that
of unfinished poetry
waiting to see an end
23.15. The cafe murmurs
the last of broons are sliced,
their chips meet the floor, dusted
by one trusted cleaner, who mutters
local abuses to the drunkard
wailing Bollywood songs
to an unseen lover
maybe some mince
are handed out to aged women
waiting to hand out
my tea is done, the saucer
holds a little spillover
imprinted on the table
is the stamp of the cup’s bottom
inked by trickled chai
and twenty years of mine