A Watched Pot
From countless kettles, Ive streamed
the oxygenated water, watched
the orange pekoe eruption
of copper-brown clouds
bursting from white gauze.
But I often lack the patience
to await a rolling boil, wandering away
until the click of the auto shut-off
summons me back to the kitchen.
After the alarm, I set a timer:
exactly seven minutes steeping
so as to make neither bitter brew
lukewarmed with a surfeit of milk,
nor pallid mugful strengthened
by the cheat of a squeezed bag.
My husband will make me a cuppa cuppa
as he calls it; sometimes as a balm
sometimes as an apology, sometimes
because he simply does not know
what to say or do beyond offering
the British cure-all: a steaming cup
of tannins and theanine.
And IŽll sip it from a chipped mug
older than our marriage but
just as familiar and imperfect, and
think about the way you can
wander away from each other
until something whistles you back.