Tea Leaves On The Bosphorus

Written by: Brenda Atry

Tea Leaves On The Bosphorus

Seated at a table by the stirring water,
My eyes absorb the shore of Asia.
Minerets and aged worn stone
Stand haphazardly along the banks.
Istanbul is a lady with secrets
She'll lure you with her unrevealed virgin beauty,
Then seduce you with her ancient lovers.

Grilled sardines filled my charger
Fish pulled from the strait just minutes before,
Lay garnished with parsley and mint .
Red pickled turnips and warm flat bread
Are the implements that help feed me 
And scoop up the humus,
Turkish nourishment for my soul.

The empty plates are cleared by a handsome waiter
With dubious intentions I feared,
But I was flattered none the less.
A bowl of yogurt was placed before me,
And my admirer arrived with a comb of honey.
He held it high above the creamy cloud and let the heavy ochre
languidly pour atop the milky whiteness of delight.
After his seduction,he left me alone to my pleasure
As I lapped at the sweet and sour heavenly temptation,
that parted my lips and elevated my being.

As I recovered from my rapture, two eyes caught mine.
The heathen that destroyed my diet approached the table uninvited.
He pulled up a chair and sat down across from me.
In his hands, a cup.
He offered to tell me my future.
White, small, as fragile as an eggshell with the top lopped off.
Within was a dark tea with floating leaves.
In a chivalrous attempt at English conversation,
He handed me the libation and the offer to read the remains.

I, alone in a man's world, unmarried, and of a certain age,
Did not need encouragement and I accepted his offer.
I drained the tea in one gulp and returned it to his hands.
He placed the cup in one palm , then turned it upside down,
Allowing the remaining fluid to drip out around the cup and onto the table.
Once the cup was upright again he studied the leaves, then he spoke.

His voice was soft, at times , unintelligible
His reading was honest, and truthful, and painful.
His prophecy, amusing, and entertaining
His vision and it's accuracy were astounding.

Fifteen years later, the leaves delivered on their promise.
Long fluid lines inside the cup foretold of a marriage,
To a man who  would cross a sea to find me.
Two shorter drippings were the children that now delight me.
The  tea ring that he was able to complete around the cup ,
Was the warmth of a love that would soon envelop me.


Tea, anyone?