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Monday, March 16, 2015

Dirge for an Electric Teapot

Last week, I woke and stumbled groggily to the kitchen to make tea. As I do every morning.
Only instead of reaching out in the gray half-darkness and touching the cold steel of my electric teapot, I felt paper. Once I cleared my eyes, I found a note had been taped to my tea kettle.

Dangerous. Do not use.
Love,
Mom
Devastating.

This was the teapot mom had gifted me my freshman year of college. That teapot is what we call in theological terms "the means of grace" that got me through college! Apparently, six or seven years is double the lifespan of a normal teapot so I should be grateful that we had so long together. How many cups of tea did we share? Mom claims that it almost blew up the other night, so I'm taking it as a sign that it wants to be done serving tea, and I can't make it stay. It served well and faithfully.

I have dedicated the following poem to the girls of Timberside dorm from 2010-2012, and all the girls with whom I was privileged to share tea in those tumultuous years in the tundra. You know who you are. We all enjoyed the brew of that teapot together, and that made it an element of our community. Here's to the memories.

Dirge for an Electric Teapot

None of us in six years of sipping
found a flaw in your essential service.
Dents and scratches on your stainless steel
were merely memories for us
of dorm transitions and
moments when most we needed tea.
We were restless college teacups,
floating flotsam in the ocean after storms.
And the center of your steam became for us
a reference point for
tears about a boy or
giggles for the same.
When was your tonic not the cure for every pain?

You were co-conspirator in
whispers, shouts, and songs,
Mother for our fears and frustrations,
Moderator of our deep discussions and pretentions,
Starter of a hundred, nay! of countless conversations!

You sourced an endless well for study sessions
and our prayers.
Indeed it is impossible in mind
to find a memory without you there.
Forced now to reckon with reality I know at last
you had no soul.
But I believe it's only since you poured it out
cup by draining cup
imbibing our growing pains with grace.