Ritual to Reverse Loss
Not my coffee, I plead, not
my morning blast of clarity. Tea, my healer rules,
green or black will do the trick. Jasmine, oolong,
camomile, or go back to childhood cures,
Swee Touch Nee in a tin, Lipton’s; sick,
I’m mothered, honeyed, lemon-misted.
Fevers fell and rose through glasses
steamed to amber. Home on school days,
propped up in bed reading, just well enough to
relish this illicit pleasure. Finally grown enough,
I choose coffee, lightly sweetened, coal black,
the kind that stiffens your resolve.
There is no coffeeness in tea, I kvetch,
no fit alternative, until a friend steeps tea leaves
in a squat clay pot. She serves the brew in elfin
cups someone’s glazed with tender mindfulness.
I breathe its heat. The scent defrays the loss
as each sip slakes an ancient thirst.