Tea Break

Text Score for Tea Break


Travel to another country

with people who share your language, culture, place.


Meet others there who don’t.

Invite them to tea.


Pair up.


Drink some tea.


Introduce yourself.

Tell the stranger your name,

some things about you that –

when you’re so far from home –

you can now see as really quite important,

like shapes on land so clear from the plane on the way over.


Drink more tea.


Listen, while they tell you who they are.


Maybe there’s no shared spoken language –

write it down, ask someone to translate.


When the two of you are yoked in silence,

hold your discomfort like a pose.


Choose a word,

give it to your partner


in your language

and theirs.

Accept their word gift to you.


More tea.


Mary Clare Rietz

New Delhi, India

Winter 2015