Winter 2007 • Vol. XXIX No. 1 Poetry |

The Tea and Sage Poem

At a desk made of glass, In a glass-walled room With red airport carpet, An officer asked My father for fingerprints, And my father refused, So another offered him tea And he sipped it. The teacup Template for fingerprints. My father says, it was just Hot water with a bag. My father says, in his country, Because the earth knows The scent of history, It gave the people sage. I like my tea with sage From my mother's garden, Next to the snapdragons She calls fishmouths Coming out for air. A remedy For stomach pains she keeps In the kitchen where She always sings. First, she is Hagar Boiling water Where tea is loosened. Then she drops In it a pinch of sage And lets it sit a while. She tells a story: The groom arrives late To his wedding Wearing only one shoe. The bride asks him About the shoe. He tells her He lost it while jumping Over a house wall, Breaking away from soldiers. She asks: Tea with sage Or tea with mint? With sage, he says. Sweet scent, bitter tongue.

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Fady Joudah was the recipient of the Griffin International Poetry prize in 2013. His latest poetry collections are Alight and Textu, from Copper Canyon Press. Textu is written in meter based on the character count of smart phones. He is a practicing physician of internal medicine.

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Progress Notes

By Fady Joudah

At a desk made of glass, In a glass-walled room With red airport carpet, An officer asked My father for fingerprints, And my father refused, So another offered him tea […]

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At a desk made of glass, In a glass-walled room With red airport carpet, An officer asked My father for fingerprints, And my father refused, So another offered him tea […]

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