Tea Dust

by Janice Hahn

He fumbled in empty tea boxes one autumn evening.
Snake-like, swamped in his mother’s
rasping. After she lost speech, she rolled words in
her fingers. Pressed finely crumbled jasmine flakes into his
sopping hands, congealed chevrons of red
ebbing out towards fleshy shore.
Doubt bloomed from her lips,
into the roots of his wrists. Her oak stick,
puckered by dry plateaus of skin.