Refusing Tea

Image by Marianne Habeshaw. An underwater shot of algae, light protruding through.


by Marianne Habeshaw

Refusing tea is her act of defiance,
It hangs in the air
to be picked up later.

(In dream space,
holographic motions delay)

She drags him to more effective regions,
honey words conjugate on her tongue
Form lather on the pavement.

She cradles her own initiation.

It was his burden:
talking lovemaking

Now it’s her novel responsibility.

will she become caged in
right by experience?
Her face forming concrete.

She has watched from kitchen shadows
On pastoral mountain top
Situations repeated to absurdity:
they eat, leave dishes and the sink.

The picture forms bitterness within the onlooker
but the host is numb inside:

She is
wrapping her own thoughtfulness on Christmas eve.

Public jokes interrupt
Smoke circles of absence,
billowing internally.

Fresh as a slap from the woke patrol.
One bright day a boy comes bobbing,

It’s all relative,
Predictions of
post-existing problems.
She wakes to find herself cutting onions in her sleep.

Collectively forced
social inadequacy.
Litter the subconscious,
Form microplastic crusts around her eyes.

Like waiting for a baby’s language,
She is patient because it’s hers,
full of possibility.
Commits her youth to the project.

A raised point you can’t cling to
shades of contour
Bulging out towards her, that expensive repetitive design.

I watch her pitch her tent on uneven ground.

Ineffective teachers, what have you spawned.
What he thinks he wants
does not
match my anatomy.
It was not made to consider me.

Sit back and watch:
The subtleties of genuinely glazed eyes.

Miseducation cuts like a blunt wooden pole
As the condominium breaks
My own voice passes by my lips and shatters on the floor.

Echoes and ripples last mere seconds,
Emotional composure fizzing at the edges.
It rumbles and assembles again,
Sparks mid-air and whips round to the basement.

Refusing tea is her act of defiance.

She sees her, years later, children screaming at dinner.

He cuts her off, her face changes.
She says nothing and he doesn’t notice.


Marianne Habeshaw is a Teaching Assistant and Poet/Playwright based in Hackney, London.  She wrote a play with the ‘Eastern Angles Young Writers Group’ called, ‘The Snowflakes in The Slow Cooker’ which was performed in June 2019.

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