by Ed Higgins
The barista with the fake rainbow nails and amazing cleft places my change on the counter, two-fifty from the five I've given her. Her smile is all desire to please. And I am a regular so she knows my order as I walk through the door, here for my morning latte passion. Better make it a double shot of espresso this morning, I say, for the added wake-up kick—as I slip a dollar into her tip jar, nudging myself not to stare. I watch her slide the steam wand into the white milk, foam effectively rising. She carefully embellishes my almond latte mix with a Vesuvius Rosetta, her lithe motions as choreographed as a geisha's mizuage.
mizuage: a ceremony signifying a maiko (apprentice geshia) becoming a full-fledged geshia. Mizuage literally means “raising the waters” and has come to mean money earned by a geshia's entertainment.
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Ah, let's seeeee. . . . what inspired this. . . ., my love of lattes & latte art, of course. All offered up at NW coffee shop a few blocks from my campus. The piece is currently online in the Feb. 2011 of Amaranthine Muses: