Of all the things that I remember,
clearest are those cream teacups
we saw in the museum, the words
of Arab women on them, talking
about arranged marriages.
They were in a corner painted garish
red– to stand out against the pale, perhaps–
the teacups halved and jutting
from the wall at intervals. You knelt
with the camera I’d lent you, and for a while I stared
at your intensity, how you focused.
But you stayed in that corner and I wandered
off. Soon after you found me
in a showcase of local pottery, ceramics
hand-thrown, dyed and glazed by practiced hands.
When we left you were still talking
about those teacups, how they said some people felt
sheltered in tradition, or trapped
by what had always been meant for comfort.
That’s what stays with me, those teacups
and how you carefully photographed each one.
They were so much smaller than the two mugs I poured
each morning: your black tea with milk, my coffee
with cream and half a spoonful of sugar.
When I used to kiss you, you said I left
on your mouth the taste of pennies
and you grimaced, though it was your good
Italian grounds that swirled and stained
my white mug dark.
Drafts on drafts on drafts. The end still needs work, another push, I think, some clarity so that the connection I’m seeing is more fully fleshed out on the page. In general, I think I just really like writing about people whose relationships are just a little bit off; they love each other, but there’s also something wrong that’s really hard to put your finger on. I like that, I think, mostly because it all loops back to my philosophy on how love is more choice than butterfly feeling, or that perhaps it’s both but that doesn’t mean your world is without flaws. I don’t know. Maybe I just like talking about fucked up relationships.
Also, any thoughts on the potential new title?