We’d Come From Chicago

We’d come from Chicago
to return an old saw to a friend
who’d sent it home with us
on our last visit for me to repair.

Craig met us near the bus stop
at Heathrow.

He said he’d take us home to his place
for tea because we must be tired
after our long journey.

He lived in a boat beached
in a field like a whale.

While we waited for tea
his tattooed and snaggle-toothed friends
began to arrive to see his American
friends with their saw. They’d checked
their snarly, public demeanor at the gate
like gun-slingers in a wild-west show.

Sweet English crumpets and Devonshire
cream were served on old bone china
tea plates that his grandmother had
given him on his 21st birthday.
She expected he’d take a wife
but he didn’t need one because
he already possessed her tea service.

—Gerald Bertsch, Sheboygan, WI