Tea Tricks

First it’s a bronze penny:

Unassuming, rarely used.

Then it’s a marble floor,

Milk pushing through some pre-formed crevices,

Seamless and steaming.

Now it’s a lively cocker spaniel, chasing the spoon.


It won’t yet come out and play—

Instead it taunts me, burns my fingers and mouth.

On occasion it has a clever plan: the take-out cup,

Sleeping in paper walls, peering

At me through a one-way peephole

And crashing onto my tongue.

The latter holds a grudge against me

For the next week.


I have been watching the hot breath,

And perusing the odd tiny bubble

Or crystal of sugar, for three whole minutes.

My finger bounces off the china when they meet.

I wonder fleetingly if this is tea with intentions,

Tea that is defiant,

Tea that has grown tired

Of being so insignificant in the world of beverages,

That it shoves away all human touch.

I snicker at myself; I accept defeat.


The news correspondent imparts a laugh–

I leap from the chair into which I had been stuck

Like an undried spoon in sugar.

I didn’t notice that smiling bear on the mug before,

It’s asking how I was so idle,

Asking to be broken. Unbreathing.


I open the cupboard door.


Beth Gordon-Taylor, 2017


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