A brand new online publication, Looseleaf Tea creates a space for emerging and established artists to come together, offering different perspectives and aspects of different cultures. “Looseleaf tea symbolizes a return to roots,” the editors write. “It symbolizes a partiality toward comfort, honesty, and the formation of new bonds with friends and strangers over common ground.”
I was immediately drawn to Megan Binkley’s “The Fledgling,” reading it first and then going back to sort through the poetry. It offers up the publication’s mission to show different customs and traditions unfamiliar to other readers. Two cousins, best friends and basically still children, discover the full weight of their village’s customs as Sethunya gets married to the village’s best hunter, a man she hasn’t even had a conversation with. Obi learns that he will truly never be alone with Sethunya again, to share their secrets, enjoy their games, and confide in one another:
Obi nodded wordlessly. The numbness had crumbled and he felt pressure building inside of him. He drew in a shaky breath and looked up at [his father’s] face. With a jolt of surprise, he saw the older man’s eyes glisten slightly. Oddly, his own pounding heart calmed and the tension in his chest subsided until he stood dry-eyed and composed.
Their innocence and naivety on sex, marriage, and life is both interesting to read about and sad to think of, as Sethunya has no idea what is in store for her.
While I was not happy with all of the poetry, the inclusion of Alan Harris’s “Look for Me” in the issue made reading it all worth it. I thought about the poem long after reading it. It’s like the message from a lost lover, but at the same time, it could easily be from a parent or grandparent who has passed, a letter from anyone who is no longer there, but is missed. Every line is worth the read, but here is a small sampling (of the already small poem):
When you fear that I’m lost forever
look for me in a crowd
I’m huddled, hidden
between the heartbeats of strangers
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
But our eyes will never meet again
unless we see one another
in the reflections of mirrors,
ponds, and precious children . . .
In his piece, Daniel Davis asks, “What Do You Do When There is No Word for Love?” and the photography in the issue is enthralling. Though the magazine claims no particular culture’s beliefs, this issue does feel heavily laden with Christian undertones and messages. However, I do appreciate their mission to add different perspectives and different cultures. As the journal progresses, it will be able to show more angles and beliefs.