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Poetry / Pam R. Johnson Davis

'Don't Tell Mama I'm Turning a New Leaf'

Issue 1. February 01, 2021


If there was only one thing I took from Mama’s kitchen, it was how to make sweet tea. A southern delicacy that all southern belles must know before going out into the world.

Mama made her sweet tea on the stovetop, letting the water come to a boil before adding in multiple Lipton’s Black Tea bags and then dumping in an ungodly amount of sugar.

She would turn the stove off and allow the flavors to marry together and the smell would waft up the stairs, seeping under the closed door of my bedroom, drawing me down to watch her carefully pour her sweet tea over ice in her favorite pitcher.

She would carefully stow the pitcher in the fridge, ready, just in case any guests arrive, in need of quenching. A southern woman is always ready.

These days, I don’t make my sweet tea like Mama does. I’ve been enticed by millennial influencers, showing me how their mum’s made the perfect cuppa by using Earl Grey Tea, Milk, and Honey.

I’d never heard such absurdity before, but...upon my first sip, I knew my tea would never be the same. Don’t tell Mama though, or she’ll clutch her southern pearls.

Pam R. Johnson Davis is a writer, poet, singer, and educator residing in Chicago, IL. She loves writing poetry, especially as she navigates life, loss, and love. Her first book, "Seasons (I'll Be Seeing You): A collection of poems about heartbreak, healing, and redemption" debuted at the #1 spot for New Releases in African-American Poetry and Women's Poetry on Amazon and won the "Best Urban Poetry" Book Award at American Book Fest in August 2020.

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