Two Poems by Tara Tulshyan
Brewing Oolong in Wuyi
Mama teach me how you pour
cha on loaves of kaolinite, how
it drools on the seared edges
of bamboo, how it syrups down
your lip, itching. Reserve a seat for
me behind the mountain where
white clouds abandon you. You describe
the tea leaf as feeble, coated
in soot that glazes your fingers when
you first pick it up, bitter until
you brew it in water. You add slices of citron
and hibiscus to the boil, the only
sweetener you could find. Mama you cannot name
the color of the cha, it is the transparent
lake in Xiamen that Angkong fled, the dust
from the bicycle your baba rode,
and the trail of pink hibiscus in your yard. The resin
that thickens the water, are the ashes
from the yellow note, brooding, boiling
in the pot where the seats are empty.
Previously published in DIALOGIST, July 2021
A Baker’s Wife
Red bean bread is not hard to make.
The man who threw cigarettes at me
guided my hands around the dough,
knotting it into itself. I added three cups
of sugar for good luck. Pray that it is sweet
enough or else he will fill me up with it.
The sweetness disappears when the bun
goes under the fire. He teaches me how
to ground the steamed beans, tells me to add
more honey for good measure. The beans
still have shells in them, some that don’t
disappear even when cooked.While folding
the paste into the pockets of dough, he re-
lights the fire. His hands heavy, scalding
when he presses it onto my skin. He smiles.
Previously published in The Ilanot Review, April 2021
Tara Tulshyan is a junior from the Philippines. Her works have appeared on, or are forthcoming in DIALOGIST, Kitaab, Passengers Journal, amongst others. She is also the Editor in Chief of the Woolgathering Review. When she was able to, she liked to travel around Asia and expose herself to a range of cultures.