I question why I write this poem
of a family relic from a place called home.
The teapot is blue, a Lipton coupon special;
I am caught in the spell of this memory vessel.
You thought of yourself as “the trunk of the tree.”
The tea leaves are muddled, but not your memory.
Decades have passed since I left you in Chicago.
Your DNA is in my cells, you cast a long shadow.
I imagine your oilcloth, the table where I listened
to yarns of the past while prunes stewed in your kitchen.
How you came of age during the Great Depression –
tales of gangsters, and flappers, and Italian processions.
The World’s Fair of ’32 – a Century of Progress;
Sally Rand’s dance with fans to conceal her undress.
Woven in your remnants are ones of Grandma too;
how she bore twin boys who perished during Spanish flu.
Now a sun shower blooms out my window in Seattle,
as I sip jasmine pearl to soothe the current rattle.
We have a pandemic in our year 2020,
so I sweeten my black tea with extra honey.
Picasso had his blue period and I am having one too.
It seems that 2020 roared in with nary a clue.
We The People scratch our heads, world leaders obfuscate
fake news abounds, while scientists rush vaccines to inoculate.
Where is our Century of Progress? Who are we of the digital age?
Are we, as Shakespeare said, just players on the world’s stage?
When will we meet face to face in our community?
The world’s stage seems to shrink as we players gather virtually.
If I were at your oilcloth to share Corona’s madness,
what would be your antidote to this peculiar sadness?
Would you brew me some Darjeeling to comfort and appease?
I would cross the moon for a visit, welcome a wild breeze.
This simple little teapot has triggered these old times;
the Lipton coupon special that you saved for with dimes.
I find it a comfort, I find it a friend, in this year of our plague –
though you may muddle tea leaves, your tales are seldom vague.