To the Only Once: Black Tea

A disposable cup
comprised of compressed cardstock
bleached in an acid dissolving solution
stamped with red ink.
Folded by mechanical limbs
guided by a computerized brain
designed by industry,
schooled in mathematical arts,
to hold 16 ounces of boiled water
only once.

Heat escapes
Energy runs out
Burns the hand that holds it.
Dress it up
cardboard sleeves
to shield the hands
only once.

Black tea,
harvested from Chinese fields
where camellia sinensis bloom
white petals golden centers,
dried in cold rooms,
welted sits blacken
inside a porous bag of plastic.
only once

Dip into boiling water
leaves bleed
through and into.
Their essence
leached from them
only once

When the cup runs empty
when the heat is gone
when the tea is colorless
then the cup is thrown
then the tea is thrown
then the heat is thrown
to the only once.



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