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China

By Randall Mann / March 25, 1996



Two white mugs, hand-me-downs,

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rest on our counter top.

The kettle has already shrieked.

The water's poured.

Deep in cupboards, above all of this,

six cups, six saucers, six bone-white bread plates

sleep off their journey from the Royal Doulton

factory. We won't use them tonight,

nor will we disturb our willowware teapot,

its picket fences, bricked pagodas,

the repetitious two blue birds

stopped short of pecking one another.

Tonight, like other nights, the teapot's tucked

under a pale blue tea-cozy,

China just a blue-and-white dream

where frozen harbor boats are free

to sail secretly, and the boy

who's caught the fish can finally throw it back,

and two blue birds peck limitlessly.