• Victoria Chwa


and all the world comes alive! but down we go down the rabbit hole – – – 1…





that’s the fifth one. “five,” he used to say, “five cubes of sugar in my pot of tea.” I haven’t given much thought to his ardency for all things nectarous before. If some dreams are truly capable of enveloping us in fits of panic, I would already have drowned. Since then, in all my dreams, I’ll see his hand in mine and his body caught in a chock-hold by the sea across from the cottage. O, time’s stopped! like a tap left open –

nothing but water

not just from the sea;

and before it engulfed him,

he said to me:

“five cubes of sugar in my pot of tea!” today, I hear old folk speak of the legend about the crazy man and his cottage by the sea. many wicked things, I hear! none of them are true. he wasn’t a serial killer based in the woods, he wasn’t a kidnapper who’d lure children into the cottage then hold them hostage, and neither was he the real Sweeney Todd. I used to take the long road to the sea when Mother tasked me to get more fish for dinner. Along the way, I’ll chance upon a rainbow-coloured pathway that leads up to the cottage – O, white and pink!

pretty little things!

O, sweet smell of candy!

red roses and waterlilies;

sunflower garden by the sea;

old teapots and fresh tea leaves;

O, how they amaze me! I’d always stand by his vine-gate and watch as he added sugar into his white, floral-printed pot of tea then filled up those matching cups, sat on that matching chair and smiled as he sipped tea from that cup with a chocolate chip cookie in his other hand. Never have I ever seen him without a smile, not even then. Once, as he was pouring tea by the edge of his extremely well-polished table, he asked in the most gentle of tones, “how much sugar for you?” his eyes caught mine. listen! the calmness! (break) ’twas not a dream,

yet tears fall asunder,

moon far from vision,

and no light at dawn —

crack in the glass! The Hyades greeted us that afternoon. They turned the rainbow and flowers into ash. “The sea was overworn,” they warned. Chains grew from where the sunflower seeds were sown. The crack in the window grew larger as did the crack in the teapot. The birds who used to come and sing by the vine gates never came that day. The sea came alive, O Titan like!

all the world has come alive.

but he.

continued to sip his tea.

and said.

“sweetness brings happy-ness, you see?

ah, five cubes of sugar in my pot of tea!

five cubes for me!”

— — — ebbandflow/ebbandflow/ebbandflow



ebbandflow/ebbandflow/ebbandflow upon his last words,

they swallowed him whole. I woke up this morning feeling the presence of the Hyades again. Undulations in my head: at every corner, his smile and the scent of freshly brewed rose tea and chocolate chip cookies. I woke up this morning, and I asked him, “five cubes of sugar in your cup of tea?”

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