The cone-hatted ladies converge on the plantation, a spreading swarm, picking the fresh green leaves, tossing them over the shoulder into a backpacked wicker basket, leaving behind a flattop trimmed tea shrub. The mid-day rains drive away the pickers for a short time, but they'll be back, squeezing between dripping tea trees, their skirts saturated with the cold morning rain that will steam off into a muggy afternoon.
head back to the fields
after mid-day rains
Clouds roll over the low hills,
enshrouding the vast plantation,
crawling down into the valley,
filling it like a bowl,
until it drifts toward one
like horror show death mist,
or like the mustard gas that sank
into the trenches,
once upon a time.
But without the threat of death,
except for death of that view
of rolling acres of tea trees
that stretch out to the mountains.