A novel in verse … and the writing thereof
Click on a line to comment

The Tea Set

Of course you can interview me, I said; I’d be proud.

I served her tea in mother’s china,

“Made in Occupied Japan,” inscribed

on the bottom of every saucer, every teacup. Why? I wondered.

But my granddaughter didn’t care about that story;

     she only wanted to know about the war.

That was the war, of course, but not mine, she thought,

     so it didn’t count. She was young yet:

     she still assumed

     her story was her own. Having a generous heart,

she thought my story belonged to me. Who was I

               to tell her different?

We sat together

     there at the kitchen table, she with her

straight brown hair (like mine; just

     like mine when I was young)

sweeping the page where she took notes, and

               talked of war.

Ten minutes later, she stood up. “You knew half of that,”

     I said, “already.”

“I know,” said Noreen. “But Mrs. Barton said we had to ask every question.

     Otherwise, we’re not really interviewing.” She rolled her eyes.

I rolled mine. But—didn’t she want to know

     what happened next?

“No thanks; I only need

     a page. Thanks, Grandma!”

“Any time,” I said to her retreating back. “No problem. Just

               keep it short.”


I stood to stack the breakfast dishes,

     hiding my smile.

Just then Noreen burst back into the room—

     this was not a child whose entrances

     could ever go unnoticed—

toothbrush in hand, and through lips

     white and foamy, demanded,

“Grammy, will you tell me

     more tomorrow after school?”

“I thought you didn’t want to know


“Not for school.” Her tone scornful.

     “It’d be wasted.”

No answer required; she spun and was gone,

     the teacups shivering in their saucers as the door

slammed behind her.

“Silly me,” I muttered.

From the floor I rescued a paper adrift.

Be sure to include, it said, the following:

page 2