…your smell was never unfamiliar.
It’s the third Wednesday in February
and I’m waiting upstairs in a café
at six o’clock, with a cup of jasmine
tea. It’s our first meeting, and I wonder
could a plant be romantic? Jasmine might,
snow-white blossoms spoon-tight at sunrise;
that gasp of petals as they part in the dark
which signals a readiness for scenting:
the layering of green tea buds and leaves
the tea master has kept since April to be
mated, night after night, for the perfect blend,
then hand-rolled into tiny, silken pillows
he calls dragon pearls. You offer your hand
—it is exactly the right temperature.
*First published in Crannóg 41