“The Teaman Appears” by J. Kevin Wolfe

On any Himalaya
Mr. Chetri claps twice
and a teaman appears

In his paws a rack of glasses
(wiped not washed)
and a Chinese Thermos
green with red flowers
For a rupee he pours chai

Darjeeling steams
with crude sugar
half milk
spiced with smoke
from the mystic wood
it's steeped over

The test of tenure
is to scald fingers
and not
set the glass down

You learn to honor the taste
of cremated trees
In these mountains
all wood is rare wood