You’ve Asked How You Could Prepare My Tea
by Kourtnie McKenzie

While I'd rather avoid this velocity,
you can try to steep a bag of London black tea
with orange peel, sweet clove, and three kinds of cinnamon. You’ll find
Cassia in the ceramic jar; Ceylon in the metal tin; and Saigon in the cedar box, 
next to the bamboo spoons. Now leave the tea in the back of the fridge for three to five days.
Then rub around the rim of the mug to get the clove that sticks tight, and scoop any foam that 
               —that lasts—	
                                      —but these instructions go past
				                                                        the neat, orderly listing that helps
				                                                        keep me within the rhythm
				                                                        of time. You see why 
                                                                                        I will always hide
the secrets of my tea, when you can't replicate the synchronicity
of orange and cinnamon whorl, the perfect heat
rising in temperature?
                      You're at risk
for misleading a ritual that keeps
me on track, until 
I want to shake you, the way you shake 
your leg at night while you groan through sleep.  

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