Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Tea Tasting

Deep into summer and notwithstanding the bounty of Michigan blueberries around here, I have not made one clafoutis this year. By this time last summer, I was churning them out and eating them with abandon. I'd devour this dish as it came out of the oven, still steaming and scalding, and have it cold for breakfast the next day. It was my fruity strata, a sweet take on this originally savoury dish.
So I remedied this clafoutis-less situation, and with midnight-blue stains on my fingers, a piping hot blueberry clafoutis soon emerged from the oven to accompany a tea tasting of Silver Needles.
Side by side, I brewed the Fuding Silver Needles and the Zhenghe Silver Needles.

Each yielded a straw-colored liquor, the Fuding more deeply shaded.
I sipped from each cup and let the liquor linger in my mouth. The differences between the two teas were subtle. The Zhenghe was roundly honeyed, without a jarring note. In the Fuding, however, I detected an artichoke-y flavor, a not unpleasant puckering in its otherwise sweet nature.
With the duel between the Silver Needles satisfactorily at an end, I dug into my slice of the clafoutis.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Rex

Her baby hand is in her mother's.
They cross the street, the traffic a blur
Of raucousness and confusion.
But the hand is soft and warm.
It keeps the traffic away.
In the cool of the movie house they sit side by side.
The child's hair is smoothly shiny.
Her mother removes her sunglasses,
Puts it away in her purse.
Rapt and secure, the child sits small.
She hears her mother's even breathing
As the screen jumps up and down.
The moments will be lost later,
But she stretches them into eternity.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fort Chaffee, 1975

I ran after them,
The other children who looked like me.
We ran under the night sky lit with stars,
Under a canopy that stretched on forever.
I felt the breeze in the open air
With the giant movie screen.
I saw figures grouped on tufts of grass in the dirt field.
Their heads inclined upwards at the moving pictures.
I did not know then
Watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,
Where I would go next.
I followed the other children,
Leaping through the night air
As we passed the barracks and the commissary to our homes.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Paris, 1983

In my hands is a pain aux raisins,
The wax paper sticky and sweet.
I climb the darkened staircase.
The door opens to a midday of newspapers
On a dining room table.
A lull in a week day.
My mother tongue smiles at me.
I hear French, staccato and harsh,
And the fracturing of English.
I am at home away from home.