• Ancient Paths

Cup of Tea

by Jeffrey Essmann


She speaks with frightening ease of her demise: “If I’m,” she blithely says, “still here next year…” She sips her milky tea, obliquely sighs: A fragile breath that quickly disappears. Her coffin dress, she says, is all picked out; The rosary she wants placed in her hands. Specific hymns are still somewhat in doubt; The gospel should be popular but grand. And of a sudden all the mundane things— The soda bread, the butter knife—impart A deeper mystery, something soft, that sings, And I can feel beating of my heart. I whisper in my mind a Glory Be

And pour myself another cup of tea.