It was a gray, rainy Sunday: a day when I heard the word vermiculture used twice and a day when my crew and I climbed around some white rocks in an outdoor amphitheater. It was also the day after my daughter’s front tooth turned brown, which she credits to a sword-fight with sticks. This made it a day of bidding adieu to her tiny baby tooth smile. It was also the day that my stainless steel tea tumbler began to tarnish, making the tea inside taste like metal. I stopped by a teashop to get a new one, and there I met Olivia. For all the time I spend drinking tea and talking to people at teashops, it was the first time anyone had given me the word “tea.”

The Stranger: Olivia

Her Word: Tea

The poem I wrote:

You, dear green, are better
at everything than we:
you’ll never be quite
this beautiful
again, such an emperor
and even without clothes:
all the time my bed’s
crowded except
when you are in it,
so tell me again
please about your great
journeys from tiger
to lamb, wild to mild,
from tea leaves
to jungle trees. You
can make it all up
if you want.
So what if I let
my roots go deep
and I stay here forever,
listening to you
while the world
composts me. I don’t
care and I don’t
need to roam. You are
the who at the end
of this poem.

The Challenge: Do you have a poem in you on this word? Write one here.