Exponent II Classics: Tea Time at Hotel Utah
Exponent II, Vol. XVI, No. 1 1991
Tea Time at Hotel Utah
by Helen Mar Cook, Ogden, Utah
On a hot, sunny day, I walk
through the south door
into coolness of expensive elegance,
select an well-appointed chair,
idle beneath a canopy of crystal stars,
sip summer through a straw.
A pianist at a grand piano repeats
old love songs while waitresses
rising like petals from stems
of long, black skirts and
white embroidered blouses,
flutter to our bidding.
I close my mind to plump-upholstered women
in tight slacks, casual girls wearing
shorts and bare midriffs.
As if in a mirage, my pretty aunties
settle in soft chairs, retreat
into their delicate selves,
sip tea from dainty cups, always
holding the handles with proper
curve of gloved fingers.
Their calm eyes glitter in half-light,
silk clad ankles swinging to
inevitable rhythms of expectancy,
fragile slippers tapping out time.
I go back into a womb of yesterdays
where life seemed as easy as roses
gracing a crystal vase, and all
that matters for the moment is
quiet elegance of a raised teacup,
old songs, and old loves.