Rita Cerniglia

Rookie - 9 Points (September 26 / Los Angeles)

Morning Tea - Poem by Rita Cerniglia

'Do you have a special tea in mind? '
She asks me every morning.
I never have tea on the mind,
much less in the morning,
but everyday she asks the daily question
never giving up hope,
(It's apparently a very important decision)

'No, ' I reply.

I was thinking of poetry, calling my sister
(come to think of it, is she up yet?) ,
I was wondering if the dog was ready to be fed,
what I should wear, what needed to be done first,
What could be put off till tomorrow,
What I might get around to eating eventually,
I can never decide till I'm starving
(she hates that)

'Are you sure you have no special tea in mind? '

I look up from the computer screen
I hear half mutterings coming from the kitchen,
the rushing water from the faucet, a cabinet opening,
a cup breaking, broom swishing, cabinet closing,
(now she is talking to her dog) ,
a kettle begins to whistle...

'Surprise me, ' I sigh. (We go through this every morning) .

Now I am 'officially' distracted. All this for tea?
I listen to her moving across the linoleum floor heavily
on the balls of her feet at a frantic, disorganized pace.
I try to regain my sense of intellectual purpose,
but it is too late - the tea has jinxed me!
Soon the tinkling of spoons and the heavy walking
makes its way down the hallway and has made an abrupt stop
in the open doorway...

'Tea? I broke my favorite cup, the one from Aunt Lela.'

'It was chipped, ' I reply.
'Yes, but I broke it, you know my eyes.'
She slowly extends her arm and I take the cup from her
'You should be more careful, ' I tell her, putting the cup down.
'Try to put things as far back on the sink as you can.'
I don't know what else to say regarding this,
she has put off the operation several times, while
the list of things recently 'broken' is disturbingly epic.

'I think I am. so I feel... safe.'

She wanders back down the hallway. I sip the tea. It's green.
I hope she doesn't back out of her scheduled operation again.
I cannot make her 'safe' this is clearly something she has to do herself.
We will do this again tomorrow. Maybe I will say, 'Chai, ' and please her.
It would be such a small thing. I hope I remember to say it.


April 11,2010


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Poem Submitted: Sunday, April 11, 2010

Poem Edited: Friday, August 2, 2013


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