Yeti's Afternoon Tea

He serves shortbread with blackberry jam
and brings out all his little spoons.
He takes a moment to fan the napkins
and evenly space the crab puffs on their silver trays.
He tried making cucumber sandwiches,
but the slipperiness of the seeds and the bigness of his hands
became quick enemies.
He sets places for his imagined guests.
Einstein, Copernicus, Mozart, Da Vinci, and Julia Child.
They arrive in a flurry of hugs and handshakes.
He takes their coats like he's practiced
and they join him at the table.
First, they all commiserate
about their unruly hair while nibbling away
and looking about for the tea. Yeti, realizing
he's forgotten the kettle, apologizes and makes for the kitchen
a bit too eagerly, jostling the table and spilling a tower of cut lemons.
He returns and pours, happy to fill each cup,
happy to sit back down again and watch their faces.
He wants to ask them things. He wants their voices in his living room.
He wants to laugh with them. He wants them
to call him friend before they go. He wants to know them
beyond what's in his books.
If they are real, then he might be real, too.
He wants to know what grows
in their minds, and what they eat for breakfast,
where they go when they're tired of living
and their ideas can't find a way back before nightfall.

Yeti Plays Chess by Correspondence

He settles in his fireside armchair,
opens today's mail with a brass letter opener,
and unfolds the small bundle of pages
from their envelope.
Dear Friend, this one begins,
since they've agreed not to reveal names,
I apologize for the lengthy period between
our last exchange.
(Some pleasantries about the weather
and the gentle affection of his cat.)
My experiments demand much more of me as of late,
but I assure you these letters provide great solace
during my lonely weeks of research.
(An account of specialty tubes ordered from France
and the colored fluid fermenting inside them.)
Please excuse the delay.
I hope it will not, in turn, slow your reply.

With solidarity for your position,

R. S.Bishop to G5.

As Yeti leans forward – snow falling heavy and fast
out the cave, winds dispatching their alien cries –
he lingers, clutching the tiny marble man.
Yeti slides the piece across its long diagonal,
adjusting his glasses, lowering his gaze to board level.
Here, in this slight distance: the meticulous carving,
the gentle striations of stone. Dutiful pawns
awaiting deployment. Patient kings in his periphery,
the thumbprints of their faces.
Unsure how to proceed, he broods,
lost in an uncertain landscape of war.
The silent room, surrounded as it is by cold and snow,
pleads for its figures to move.

About the Author

Rebecca Macijeski holds a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has attended artist residencies with The Ragdale Foundation, The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and Art Farm Nebraska. She has also worked for Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry newspaper column, as an Assistant Editor in Poetry for the literary journals Prairie Schooner and Hunger Mountain, and is the recipient of a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Nominee, her poems have appeared in The Missouri Review, Poet Lore, Barrow Street, Nimrod, The Journal, Sycamore Review, The Cincinnati Review, Puerto del Sol, and many others. Rebecca is Creative Writing Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Her chapbook, Autobiography, is forthcoming from Split Rock Press in 2022.