Margo Berdeshevsky

Brewing Tea

In this dream, am no she created before Eve, no thief of men’s seed or trance, no stalker,   

no bad woman, no hungry woman, no seducer, no sad person, no bored mare in her vale,   


no man. I see. And before these steps, all and as far as an eye can hold is charred    

and remnant of, is desert where a green Hawaiian land was, is dark where light rippled.   


Is utter with what has burned and galed and chilled and what is left: a petrified forest of,   

a tortured shape, was another shape, before. Am seer, and walking. Is there one   


complete and old and untouched stained house there, red wooden with thin banister,  

thin porch? On a swing is the old, is the Johnny of the vale who died long ago who would   


pray for me. In it are women with no names who welcome me as old beloved, I know  

their eyes. In this distance of a valley shattered, that old man shuffles in like an actor, on   


cue, and I am blessed and prayed for: my storm, my seeing. Dreamed into sitting down   

in an ill lit room, its round table, to white bread, sour jam, and bitter tea.  


No one will mention the blackened land, it is dark and dry, and that they are blind, and we

—are blind. We are in a complete house, standing wooden house that did not burn. All


day the gale dream returns, as though these remnants do not want me to forget them: red  

house, its shuffle, its ghosts, its dregs who want me—to be seen. Am seer. I see. It was  


a different day—where country stopped—there were houses with the sleeping bodies  

curled within them. It was an island town on a razor’s rim—the hour before  


light’s hour—empty, and arms wide with none and nothing to hold but sleep, the very  

quiet storm. I see. Outside that town was one road to shoreline, there the patient men  



with poles, long lines, and some with nets, held flash-lights to volcanic reefs. Blue fins,      

and parrotfish. There was no moon, and no cock had divided light from night yet. 


When it did, I would be mountainside, above, watching like a fisherman, for ancestors,    

and wind. Like a roused sea, a descending flock of wings would come, their music must    


be locusts, what other storm, what else would speak so biblically? I know men of little faith    

and women who lose their girlhood trust in that parent god who has no harm in his heart.   


There is harm. There is harm. I know the souls who mock all prayer, its invention. Its   

terrible optimism. And I know one old woman who knows only miracles. Only sight for   


the blind, steps for the lame. When she dies I want her pillow to sleep on while the wind  

and the faithless converse with locusts. I want her lullaby, while I am forced longer at the    


fire and at the daily storm, its useless windows cracking glass. The windhover, that  

priest, knew. Everything is a miracle, unseen. Brew the tea.



“Brewing Tea” is from But a Passage in Wilderness (The Sheep Meadow Press, 2007).