Her name was Camellia Sinensis,
by Herbert Nehrlich
she lived inside a modest hut
in Eastern India, the Darjiling.
Once a great hunting ground
with fossil bones on barren fields
bleached by the ravages of time.
Saber-toothed cats had roamed
and ruled these latitudes,
their restless ghosts live on
as proud reminders of long-ended battles
and of the tragedy of sacrifices
for unknown dreams of feudal lords
who laughed in unison at their spilled blood.
Oh, yes, the sea, a thousand dimples
from half-hearted drizzle, Darjiling rain,
home to so many of the great survivors
not ready for the afterlife back then
and stuck in memories of agelessness,
a fate of frank infinity and frightened presence.
It welcomed her, when she at last had reached
the end of one brief journey, the boulder
that marked the trail's last step for saddened souls,
and as the Spirit of the Skeleton, teeth bared
in that inimitable smile of one who time forgot,
a mermaid goddess, Camellia of the Sea.