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by Sharmagne Leland-St. John

Erika, of the yellow hair,
do you remember winter days
when we used to sit in Nell's Tea Room
on the upper east side of Manhattan
reading to each other
sipping ginger tea,
gorging on lavender scones
with generous scoops
of clotted Devon cream?

Both of us clad
in our Laura Ashley jumpers
with frilly blouses,
our designated uniforms
for two young girls
seeking work as models
in the chilly city of your birth.

Years apart in age,
but lovers of the same literature.

As we read Jo's Boys aloud
I told you, one day
I would have a little girl
with yellow hair
and I would name her Daisy,
after Jo Marsh's daughter.

You said one of your children
would be named Virginia,
after your maternal grandmother
who was a book in and of herself;
and maybe a name to honour
her companion of many decades,
the grandfatherly Mr. Wylly

We watched the steam
rising from our over-sized teacups
and whispered of our future dreams.

Now I look at Facebook photos
of a middle-aged you,
your daughters Virginia and Wylly,
and your new life in Texas
that includes horses and cattle roundups
gypsy wagons and weddings.

Then I put on a pretty
Laura Ashley frock,
and drive across town,
to meet my daughter Daisy
and grandson Dawson,
for ginger tea at Paddington's,
a posh tea room here in L.A.


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