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.

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6 Responses

  1. CatherineWO says:

    Ahh, I have these memories too.

  2. confused says:

    What about the Word of Wisdom?

    • Naismith says:

      Fruit infusions…at least that’s what we had for tea in London.

      • Kelly Ann says:

        Fruit infusions sound lovely. Some people are surprised that my herbal tea drinking habit came on my mission (before that, I didn’t want to near the appearance of evil … ). There are really lots of so many good options.

  3. Paula says:


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