Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2018  Vol. 17 No. 1
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The Ritual

The alarm goes off with a twinkling beep. It takes me ten minutes to get out of bed. I pull on a pair of socks—beige with pink dots today—wrap the black checked shawl around my shoulders, take the baby monitor and tiptoe downstairs. The saucepan sits on the stove, awaiting me. I fill it with a measured cup of water, drop in a green cardamom. While the water simmers, softening and swelling up the cardamom, I count nine almonds into a bowl. Half a spoon of tea leaves, some milk, and the tea brews to a charming cinnamon hue. With the steaming cup, almonds, monitor, I descend to the study. The study is dark, cooler than the rest of the house, hence the socks, the shawl. I draw back the curtains. The light is soft outside, a mix of white and gray. I sit at the desk and drink the tea, soak the quiet of the morning hour. A sparrow hops up and down the dry branches of the crape myrtle on the patio, chirping intermittently. The neighbors have left a light on outside their house. I warm my palms around the cup, eat a few almonds. I scroll through my email on the laptop, check how the weather will fare today. Water drips somewhere in the pipes concealed in the walls, a meditative patter. I track submissions to see which ones are ripe enough to garner a response. I close Safari and open the Word file, put aside the now empty cup and bowl, take out my notebook and pens. The molecules in the room start to stir, the walls waver. I’m in the study and I’m elsewhere. I’m me yet also the characters on the page. Two hours whiz by. The lights on the monitor blink; my daughter coos to her soft toys. The molecules cool down. I’m back in the room and in my skin, until next morning when I go through the ritual again and invoke my muse.  

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