★ ★ ★ ★



All these teas
aligned in the dark’s one
nook of light above our stove:
English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast,
Ceylon Orange Pekoe, China Black,
Green Ginger, Orange Ginger Mint,
Wild Sweet Orange, Mandarin Orange Spice,
Tuscany Orange Spice, Bengal Spice,
Sugar Plum Spice Holiday Herb Tea,
Nutcracker Sweet Holiday Tea, Echinacea…
And up one shelf, the Green Tea Sampler
and the Chamomile Green; and up one more,
the gift Chinese Teas we’ve the craft store tea ball for,
gradated as High Grown, Low Grown, and Medium teas:
the Uva, the Nuwaraeliya, the Dimbula, the Ruhunu, the Matale,
and the Flowery Kandy; and the tea hand-labeled spice tea
Janie Coleman gave me, which I’ve now splashed
some of on my laptop, unscrewing it to sniff the makings of…
And they’re wonderful teas, so artful and so various, so aromatic,
so sonorously monikered, yet none of them’s the tea I covet,
the only one tonight might bring me sleep—

scent of the hay meadows
at summer’s dusk in Bedford’s Park,
at the summit of the hill by the horse chestnut trees—
when I was seventeen—below me the streetlights coming on;
above me (bare tremble of new-spilt cream) the open stars.

Derek Kannemeyer was born in Cape Town, South Africa, raised in London, England, and has spent most of his adult life in Richmond, Virginia, USA, as a teacher of French and English. His writing has appeared in such publications as Fiction International, The Saint Ann’s Review, The New Virginia Review, Rattapallax, Smartish Pace, Rolling Stone, and many others.