Tyranny of Teacups


Tyranny of Teacups             


            My past has been nearly obliterated

by the dissolution of my mother’s belongings:

treasures accumulated over a lifetime.

Wedding China mortgaged to me, unwitting

daughter. Sterling-ware sold to the silver monger,

one neglected soup spoon left, alone in the padded,

ornate box. Lost the handle on the inlaid cabinet.

Shattered the hand of the Mama-san porcelain

statuette, leaving an innocuous hole. Vanished

the mate of a pair  of China dragons. Bent

brass table, tarnished to a green, scummy residue.

Roller off  the carved Georgian chair, crippling,

my inheritance, to which I’ve been held hostage.


            A relief and a letting go, gone

to Goodwill: the chipped dinnerware;

the mix-matched flatware; the closetful

of tatters, dangling on clothes-hangers;

dozens of coverless romance paperbacks;

chenille bedspread, frayed and worn—

my mother’s house, travesty of a once-

imagined life and distorted dreams.


            Today, cups and saucers,

a complete set,—pink with gilt

trim and matching butterfly designs,

for my daughter’s wedding shower.

She covets them—little nooses looped

into the future to lure us all back

guiltily to a time that never was

in a world treasured only in retrospect,

or by the dead to whom these cups

no longer belong.


Cordelia M. Hanemann

Cordelia Hanemann is currently a practicing writer and artist in Raleigh, NC. A retired professor of English at Campbell University, she has published in numerous journals including Atlanta Review, Connecticut River Review, Southwestern Review, and Laurel Review; anthologies, The Poet Magazine's new anthology, Friends and Friendship, Heron Clan and Kakalak and in her own chapbook, Through a Glass Darkly. Her poem, "photo-op" was a finalist in the Poems of Resistance competition at Sable Press and her poem "Cezanne's Apples" was nominated for a Pushcart. Recently the featured poet for Negative Capability Press and The Alexandria Quarterly, she is now working on a first novel, about her roots in Cajun Louisiana.

Post a Comment


  1. as real as it gets in family dynamics or as they say in ukraine "the russian fever" which is way of indicating depression passed on like a disease.