Brewing Green Tea

Brewing Green Tea

From The Cupboard Artist, my newest book, out in January 2012, published by Floating Bridge Press:

Brewing Green Tea in a Glass Percolator after the Regular Brown Teapot Has Broken

These leaves don’t spin like black
tea in a dark tornado,
but swing light as dragonfly-wings,though you wouldn’t want dragonfly-wings
in your tea, allowed amount
of rat-droppings in cornflakes—

but that transparency, that iridescence—
wings, clearly,
with their dark tiny veins.

To start with a pot of floating greenery
says the right thing
about the day, I think, that no one knows

what will happen, but everything swirls,
expands in heat, and floating, falls—
in this case can’t fall all the way

in a timed one minute before being stopped
by the strainer from entering the cup. Three steepings,
the tea-man said I could squeeze from the leaves,

and it’s true if you don’t mind tea weaker and weaker,
radio waves from the mother ship
thinning, fading,

you alone on the new planet, nothing
to do but start civilization over. Maybe you’ll do it
your way this time. Maybe you’ll see

what your way is. Maybe a system
will be developed, a little like the system we have here,
where, after the last faint steep, I tap

the strainer upside down on the compost,
on top of yesterday’s kale already
stinking to high heaven.