Throwback Thursday: The Important Things

This nonfiction piece was published by Alaska Women Speak in its Winter 2015 issue.  The theme was “talking over coffee (or tea).”  This my first creative nonfiction piece to be published.  Enjoy!

The Important Things

It’s been that kind of a day and now, at home, you are faced with a household tragedy: the tea supply has run dry. Not that fancy, loose tea that sits atop of the cupboard by the stove: the rooibos, the jasmine, the gunpowder green. The kind that requires the French press, a teaspoon to measure, four cups of water, and four minutes to brew. No, you are out of the ordinary Red Rose Tea, the one that comes in the bulk 100-count boxes. The ones that are not individually wrapped for freshness. Those are the ones you lack and need.

You leave your husband and the overtired one-year-old who refused to nap today to make the important journey. You travel to the only grocery store in your small town that has this tea. Forget about the decaffeinated version, you want the real thing, and buy two boxes. When you return home, his raised eyebrows, sigh and silent house tell you that he’s succeed in his mission and the child is asleep. You produce the tea, proving you were successful in yours, too.

The evening proceeds like many others do. You select the preferred cups: his, is the plain, white ceramic; yours, the clear glass Starbucks one. You are not fancy. This does not require much decorum. Just two cups of water, a microwave, and two minutes.

After a moment of silence, you turn on the TV. Forget about the Syrian refugee crisis and the falling Dow Jones, you discuss the important things of life over Futurama: like Katey Sagal’s career after Married…with Children ended and how much adults like Disney cartoons, too.

Your tea is the liquor that calms the nerves and re-energizes your soul. The last sip, overly sweet and growing cold after fifteen minutes, gives you the final jolt you need to pack the diaper bag, make the turkey sandwich lunch and check your calendar one more time, before winding down to a short sleep before the day begins again.

 

Advertisements

Throwback Thursday: High Tea and Fancy Things

This poem was published in Alaska Women Speak’s 2015 Winter Issue.  Written especially for their “talking over coffee or tea” issue, this one is “High Tea and Fancy Things.”

 

High Tea and Fancy Things

You choose Assam for your mother,

because you think it best resembles her tastes:

simple but brisk, a taste familiar

but bolder than her usual Lipton.

For yourself, you choose the Chinese Green Flowering Jasmine

because its fancy green leaves and rosy petals,

hand-sewn to resemble a closed flower that

open when steeped in hot water,

makes you feel sophisticated,

well-traveled and grown up in her presence.

 

She looks around in the unfamiliar Alaskan tea shop,

many miles from her small, Midwestern hometown,

its fine china teapots with matching blue and white willow

pattern tea cups and silver demitasse spoons.

You both act normal despite the delicate

three-tiered glass tower of French treats and food:

the tomato bisque, petit fours, and purple macaroons.

 

When her hand reaches for the scone.

she contemplates the small, silver knife,

the one with the curved handle

for spreading the clotted cream,

when the knife drops to the table,

a soft landing on the cloth napkin.

She looks to you and shrugs her shoulders,

grabbing the scone, dipping it into the clotted cream bowl.

 

Some things are just too fancy, she says.

And, some things need not be, you reply.

You both laugh as you shared in a moment

much prepared for, but made simple as can be.

 

Throwback Thursday: If I May Speak

This poem was also published in Alaska Women Speak’s winter issue 2015.  Enjoy!

If I May Speak

over my mother’s teaspoon as
it scrapes the teacup like a child
who discovers an annoying sound
it finds joyful only to do it again and again.
The words that spill over her tea,
the steam that comes off the cup,
have little meaning.
They are the same things we have talked about
each time we have tea:
the weather,
the people who have died
and the people who have not.
Each time we speak
we pretend that there is nothing
else to discuss or confess.

If I may speak,
if I could say what I wanted to say,
ask for the secrets she hides,
tell her the feelings I have inside,
would she hear me?
Would she listen?
Or would it all drown
in the liquid in her cup,
in a whirlpool of sugar
that distorts all voices,
including mine?
 

Alaska Women Speak’s Winter Issue: Publication

Hi everyone!

Just got my copy of Alaska Women Speak yesterday.  I was so excited to see my four (yes 4!) works in their latest issue, which centers around drinking coffee or tea.  Alaskans, you can get your copy via subscription (of course) or at Barnes & Noble in Anchorage, or in my other fine retailers listed on the website.

Works included:

Nonfiction:  The Important Things

Poems: Babushka’s Samovar, If I May Speak, and High Tea and Fancy Things.

Check it out!

Jennifer, who adores drinking tea, loves writing about her favorite beverage!