I breathe mint

from his garden. Preferring rose-

hips and lemon verbena, my lover grows

peppermint and spearmint for my tea


                       Today I snip stalks and share

the aromatic feast with Jonathan and Beverley, the new

parents of Johnny born eighteen days into June,

anniversary of Etta's birth, the grandmother I lost

during my first trip abroad.

                                                 Much later at a table detailed

with red rose petals, I savored the ceremony of Moroccan

mint tea, but I fell in love with mint while I carried my son

Ivan. His name is John too but in Russian. I called my Russian

grandfather Honey because my mom's mom Etta summoned

her husband Sol, no matter his mistresses, in that sweet way.


The Lord is gracious and so it is that Johnny, Jonathan, Ivan,

Hank, Hans, Ian, Jack, Jean, Johan, Juan, Sean, Shane, Vanya,

and Zane all mean John, the Lord is gracious.

                                                                                     I breathe mint

and mix honey into the tea I brew from the leaves my sweetheart

grew in his garden. These fragrant leaves that sing he loves me.