Volume 16:1, Winter 2015
The Sonnet Issue
Tea in the Late Afternoon
In the swell of the teapots belly, the earl grey
steeps, the whorled ear of a handle on one side,
arched neck of spout on the other, the lid
a curl of lip. I wrap my hands around the glazed
porcelain, complexion of naive skin, silken
and warm, my infant sons. I nursed each one.
The fragile wedding gift was stored high once upon
an unbroken matrimony, to survive ideally spaced siblings
splintering rivalry for affection I so carefully divided.
I measure minutes, parse leaves from liquid, and pour.
A splash of teadrop burns. Before my sons left home for
good, I never drank tea, no time for steeping and sipping.
Seldom in touch, they both married young, my doing,
probably, too little or too much, the strength all wrong.
Ellen Sazzman has been published in Moment, Calyx, Bridges, Poetica, and Common Ground. She was shortlisted for the 2018 O'Donoghue Poetry Prize, and awarded the 2016 Anna Rosenberg Poetry Competition from Poetica, the 2016 Moving Words poetry contest, and Northern Virginia Review's 2012 Poetry Prize. She is a mother, grandmother, and retired lawyer living in Potomac, MD.