Tea And Dust

I am old, he said,
not in regret but as fact.
Tea splashed on the table as
he tried to offer hospitality. All
he could afford. Too many days
between pension cheques,
not enough time to enjoy them.
His smile was genuine,
teeth brown, or broken.
I have no milk. His head shook.
His hands shook.
I take it clear, I replied.
A smile again, not as long
but very real.
revolved around
a story he heard
on talk radio,
or memory.
More tea?
He talked about dust, as if
it meant something; where
it travelled, why it settled.
Everything begins in the wind,
he paused to catch his breath
or to let the words find
a more profound meaning.
It never lets up.
He was old.
His small room smelled
of cheap after shave,
stale cigarettes, and loneliness.
He welcomed me, regularly,
as he would anyone
with time to spend.
It was all he could offer.
Tea and dust.

© 2018 j.g. lewis


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