Thursday, 1 May 2014

TAKING STRAWBERRY HIBISCUS TEA WITH STRANGERS

(for Mary Haybittle)

On a Tuesday afternoon,
in the only place to be,
tables must be shared, politely.

I join the ladies at Number 5
and flash a half-mast smile;
not the full-watt:
they have been here a while

they fall silent with a proprietary air
and watch me
settle.

The mug and saucer are mottled grey
ceramic, but surprisingly light
as I lift my fruit and flower
blush pink drink to my lips
and for once feel happy with my choice.

The Jackson Five count out the alphabet
behind cutlery
and the humming of refrigeration:
I keep my legs firmly crossed
lest they break out, break dance,
break the surface charm
of a genteel English deli.

But the coffee here is Italian
and my tea came from the hibiscus tree:

I remember the flowers falling
and my bare feet rushing
to catch them
before the monsoon floods did.


© Shaista Tayabali, 2014

Arrived in the post, this delicate tea cup, half the size of my thumb,
from my beloved friend Mary,
to whom I dedicate the poem. 

2 comments:

Marcoantonio Arellano said...

a precious gift to a precious person. hope you have moments of tranquility, today

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wow, so tiny???? Very lovely gift! LOVE your poem. I could feel your legs wanting to dance, and the enforced subduing of them. Hibiscus tea. Lovely.

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