My longing fingers curl around the handle,

like they would around your waiting fingers

under the window,

I smell not your enchanting perfume, o’ maiden!

but your homely waft

 

with love my heart seems laden

like a caress to my mouth so soft; and I know

I need not a Juliet in a hazy mindset,

The strong odour of home and Dadi

my nostrils have already met

 

And they reminisce about the afternoons

under the banyan tree

My eyes squinting in the sunlight

in an attempt to see

the fair lass whose silhouette traced the horizons

with hair dipped in warm water

permeating the entire kitchen

 

And I would sit wide-eyed

I was “too young” to drink in your essence

 

Little earthen cups shattered on the roadside

all your past lovers, now broken by the pebbles

but you’ve disappeared

to appear in yet another tired lad’s way

 

The milky embrace of your returning comfort alongside Marie biscuits on the patterned plate

I would slap my forehead and blame fate

for not growing up faster and partaking

in the memories they made alongside cups full of you.

 

And then, like long-estranged lovers separated by oceans and finally rowing flimsy boats against the mighty waves

we finally meet in an embrace of affection,

newfound yet familiar.

 

Why, Chai?

Why must you pose an addiction stronger than any wine

any mug of steaming coffee

I can only sigh

and ask why once again

because the leaves have already left my hands

into the boiling water.

 

– Aliyah Banerjee, Round Rock High School, Texas

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