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.


  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.

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