Ode to a Cup of Tea
 after Pablo Neruda

My friend
brewed me
a cup of afternoon
tea—amber liquid
in a hand-thrown
mug, earthen brown
vessel holding
the sky,
the constellations
hidden in sunlight,
mug with lip composed
of fossils crushed
into clay, of water
washed from Mount
Vesuvius,
liquid left
from the gods’
last libations,
seep of mint
and sage,
rosemary and thyme,
wild grasses
from the prairie
sweetened by bees,
citizens of the meadow,
purveyors of pollen,
cells of honey stored
against wind and weather,
bears’ treasure horde
dissolved
in the near-boil
of the singing
tea kettle.
My friend
sat beside me,
the afternoon’s
soft breath,
the labor
of her hands,
she who
stoked the fire
that warmed
the water
that steeped
the tea leaves
that spelled
love
when all
the glad liquid
had slipped down
our happy throats.

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