Poetry / March 2013 (Issue 20)

The Way of Tea

by Dan Encarnacion

GOODBY [sic]!  WRITE SOON!—Alien Exodus Like an Outing

With a few courteous bows, lots of promises to “write soon” and many sturdy American-type handshakes, the first Japanese involved in military evacuation orders yesterday said farewell to San Francisco.

The elders, steeped in their native traditions, displayed few emotions.  School age youngsters romped and played among the piles of household good [sic] strewn in front of the control stations of the Wartime Civil Control Administration, 2020 and 1701 Van Ness Ave.

College-age boys and girls and their slightly older friends and relatives, most of them American citizens, still laughed, wise-cracked in the latest slang, gave the scene the air of an outing...

As the buses rolled away friends remaining waved goodby [sic], raised their thumbs in the air, made the victory V signal in final tribute.  The young Japanese responded, broad smiles on their faces; heads bobbed up and down in affirmation.
- San Francisco News, April 7, 1942

Inside a battered Revere Ware copper-clad sauce pan, bubbles clamber upon one another trying to scale the walls.

Di-hydro-oxygenated atoms have been agitated by a blue ring of methyl hydride flame.

Roiling agitation we associate with “hot”.

The roiling di-hydro-oxygenated atoms are poured into a lacquered pot lined with dried, leaves.

(On the valley floor, detached manzanita leaves whirl with dirt).

Deviled atoms provoke the dried leaves to release their essence.

(A swathe of scrub and dust; a drought of trees).

They steep.

The rehydrated leaves expand and cling to one another; some pried apart by roiling atoms.

The lacquered pot is lifted; the lacquered pot is tipped.

Unwilling to go where there is nowhere to go, the re-hydrated leaves follow the flow of gravitational pull, spill down and are piled atop one another, soggy, against a sieve of wire mesh held a bit below the lip of the lacquered pot.

The brew whirlpools into a metal cup; the swollen leaves sodden and limp.

The metal cup scalds the hand; we associate this with “hot”.

(The mountains in the west hold snow).

We blow.
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