Victorian Teacup

Flow-blue they call it—
indigo glaze around the rim
dotted with gold stars
like a monarch’s robe
dipping into snow.
Or does the white
flow upwards, discrete
exuberance, a vapor
off the chill, rounded foot.
And the handle is a bone
in a tiny woman’s ear—
too small for a laborer’s
stout paw, too fine.
I pinch it with my thumb
and forefinger, pinky up
like a suspicious eyebrow.
I am beyond blame,
far from the heat and sweat
of the fields outside.
Until I notice the stain,
an oily crescent moon
where my lip
pressed eagerly to drink.

a photo of Sarah Gorham

About the Author

Sarah Gorham is the author of four collections of poetry: Bad Daughter; The Cure; The Tension Zone, which won the 1994 Four Way Books Award in Poetry, judged by Heather McHugh; and Don’t Go Back to Sleep. With Jeffrey Skinner, she co-edited the anthology Last Call: Poems on Alcoholism, Addiction, and Deliverance (Sarabande Books). Gorham’s poems have been published widely in Best American Poetry, Poetry, The Nation, American Poetry Review, The Paris Review, and other magazines. Gorham cofounded Sarabande Books, where she serves as President and Editor-in-Chief.