Until a moment ago I was trying to enjoy the cup of tea I just brewed, but it tastes terrible and so now Im trying to enjoy that, and am having reasonable success.

Here are the ingredients: black tea, ginger, cassia, allspice, nutmeg, vanilla nut, cinnamon, cardamom, and clove. I dont know what cassia is. I seem to recall that its some sort of tree bark. And Ive never really known whats in allspice. I think we have an old container of it in the cupboard, but I havent used it in cooking.

The tea smells good enough. That fooled me: usually things that smell good, taste good.

The package recommends adding a splash of milk and sugar for a sweet, creamy dessert-like tea. Well. Its too late now. And its too early for dessert unless, perhaps, I were to peel a nice mandarin: something tells me citrus is the answer.

Unfortunately, theres only one mandarin in the house, and I want to save that for my wife. We do things like that for each other: we save mandarins, bananas, cookies, and so on, until they stiffen and wither and wilt almost beyond recognition, and then one of us, usually me, says, We certainly cant let this go to waste. And then I eat it.

So, at least in theory, I could eat the mandarin now, and Id be doing us both a big favor. But I cant: its her mandarin. Our love for each other is simply too great to allow common sense to come between us.

I will, however, tell her about this tea, how its crippling my tongue and making me want to go out and buy a pack of unfiltered Camels. Or better yet, light a pipe: but I have no tobacco. Why do I have no tobacco? Is it because I dont smoke, even though I love smoking the ritual of it, the memories of parlor talk it invokes and have embraced it with all my spirit despite the fact that I never made it a habit? Or are there subtler, darker, deeper, more mysterious reasons?

Gad. I just finished the last cold swallow. My mouth hasnt tasted this bad in a long time. Like cloves in a solution of used dishwater. Vanilla shoelaces. Fish food. A dead corn dog, with mustard spread by a used tongue depressor. Wool and walnut shells.

I brushed my teeth: it didnt help. I received a letter from my tongue: it wants to join the circus. I will not stand in its way.

Also by William Michaelian

Winter Poems

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-0-4
52 pages. Paper.

Another Song I Know
ISBN: 978-0-9796599-1-1
80 pages. Paper.

Cosmopsis Books
San Francisco

Signed copies available

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