Chinese birth year animal place mats
of white paper with scalloped edges
suggesting clouds. Black tea steeping
in a black tea pot, fingers wrapped
around full ceramic cups for warmth.
Fingers entwined, exchanging old stories –
Eden and Ithaca, trains and planes
and quaint old inns, dogs and cats
and the Mermaid at the Shore.
Vietnamese holidays swapped, tit for Tet.