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A Question to the Tea Leaves - Ruth Towne

In the teacup, only a teaspoon

of liquid remains, almost room

temperature now. My left hand

lifts the cup, my eyelids drop

for a moment. I sense but cannot

see the tea as I swirl it once,

twice, a third-time counter

to the face of a clock. Eyes open.

The saucer collects what’s left

as I invert its cup. A magpie outside

my kitchen window pries at my private

moment, then shakes its wings

toward the bright sky. The tea drains.

I wish for a basket of flowers. And it drains,

perhaps a second bird in an open cage, or

the magnolia, yes, I wish the magnolia

as it drains and it drains. It drains

and the leaves that remain

shape themselves into a harp.


Ruth Towne is a gradute of the Stonecoast MFA program. Her work has been featured in WOMEN. LIFE., a special issue of Beyond Words Literary Magazine; Foliate Oak Literary Magazine; Referential Magazine; and Maine's Best Emerging Poets 2019. She also has forthcoming publications with Drunk Monkeys, and Poet's Choice. Ruth is resident of Southern Maine and hopes someday to become a respected gardener.


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