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  • "Well, ain't you looking swell," the White Emperor said to me.

    "Much obliged," I said. "You don't look bad yourself, you exotic thing you. In fact, you look rather elegant today. I love your cream skin. I am getting fond of that pale, would you call it butterfly-wing-yellow, threading through your cream skin. Mind if I approach?"

    "Not at all. It's kind of lonely out here, just we Emperors and the wind. Warm up today, up to hot, then zooming down to wind chills tomorrow. Come close, this might be the only shot we have, you and me."

    "Speaking of a shot," I said. "Do you fancy some of my espresso?"

    "Don't mind if I do," said the Emperor, alias Tulip Fosteriana, to be precise. Emperor in Cream White. With the touch of burnt yellow inside.

    "I'm a bit armless today," the Emperor said. "Mind feeding the espresso to my lips?"

    "Sure, Empie honey," I said. "Don't feel bad my tulip, you'll get well. Here goes."

    So I fed the Emperor some espresso. Dipped a bit of my tiny glass cup into his cup. Which he gulped right down his green stem gullet. Then he sat as content as me, radiant in liquid grounds, royalty in the ivy, just letting the espresso be, making a short one last, as you do, a longish morning time.

    Two lips and tulips, the long and the short of it.

    (Photo by Susan)
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