Hint of a drizzle in early afternoon

a Jack-the-Ripper east end mist

rolls in from the bay, a shroud

hangs over our picnic table.

A portly gent with brown crooked

teeth ambles over. "Mind if I join

you to have my cup of tea?"

Gusts of wind uplift branches and leaves

warning of an incoming storm.

Crows rush away squawking raucous

expletives scaring Scarlet Tanagers

off cattails bowing in the breeze.

Humming the same tune over and over

he assembles an array of paraphernalia

absorbed as a pipe smoker fussing

with the ritual of preparing to smoke

oblivious of a swarm of mosquitoes

buzzing around his head.

His mini-Sterno stove flickers steadily

in a wind resistant shield.

Water boils furiously then the fire begins

to fizzle. He sets the table with cream

and sugar and Irish linen napkins

offering us Staffordshire cups with

cranberry floral designs and Pink Bleeding

Heart flowers that look like they belong

in a poem by Shelley or Keats.

We expect he'll come up with a teapot

to steep Earl Grey or Twining tea, but

he smiles mischievously as he dangles

a scrawny bag of Lipton tea.

We witness the rapturous smack of his lips,

slowly sipping his tea, munching on Lorna Doones

slathered with blackberry jam.

Can't get through a bloody afternoon without

a hot cup of tea. Nice meeting you, cheerio!

Same here we mumble as we dash away

in front of the downpour of a summer storm.