Craig Wisner

Tea with Ryōkan

I packed a bag

this evening

included some tools

to cook tea

and strolled up my home canyon

slowly, slowly

stepping aside

for hurried people

scaring the birds

into silence

whenever they passed

(if you take your time

sit still

the chatter comes right back)

Ryōkan and I

reclined by the creek

sat in damp gravel

boiled some water

and soaked the tea

picked our noses

while the woodpeckers


and the mockingbirds

cried like monkeys

pale clouds

stretched thin in strands

slipped past the canyon walls

recent rains

softening the world

dust retreating

into soil

the leaves sighing in relief

no tracks here

just ours

and those of a few deer

There was a small patch

of miner’s lettuce

beside the water

delicate green heads

pushing up through the mud

on the bank

I was going to pluck it

and eat it

when I decided

we weren’t so different

that this evening

was probably as pleasant

for miner’s lettuce

as it was for me

So I let it be.


let them convince you

that sipping tea

by a creek

on a Monday

isn’t important work.









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