covid cocktail

by Louise Wakeling

It’s a day for purging, standing
on a stepladder throwing old sheets
over her shoulder like salt
for good luck. Smart thinking,
offloading her surplus
to charity bins, death-cleaning
in a crisis, knowing she’s shaken 
by a micron smaller
than a human hair
Time on her hands, or is it end-time,
muddled by enforced inertia
anxiety seeping in -
some call it ‘working from home’ -
she’s glad to be doing something 
while not mixing, so she pours
the Chambord down the sink,
the whole fat-bellied bottle, 
every last drop
watches it swirl, the colour of blood,
black raspberries infused
with Madagascan vanilla 
blackcurrant and cognac. 
Order. Something predictable.
Now she reads that Chambord
is meant for cocktails, 
a base ingredient
for a Grateful Dead 
or Purple Hooter Shooter  -
has she squandered 
yet another opportunity? 
Outside, pale morning. 
Everything’s moving, waving,
straining at the leash. The elements 
of her day are layered, floating
on top of one another: 
pound the keyboard, plant bok choy,
pour sambucca over ice. 
Whatever it takes.  A twist of lime
a shot in the dark 
out of these she builds her day

Poet biography:
Louise Wakeling is a poet and teacher who lives in the Blue Mountains.  Her first novel was Saturn Return (Allen and Unwin, 1990), and she is currently working on a second novel exploring family dysfunction in the 1950s-70s. Her third poetry collection, Paragliding in a war zone, was published by Puncher & Wattmann (2008), and her fourth, Off Limits,has been accepted for publication in 2020. Wakeling’s work has been published widely, including in Antipodes (2011), Contemporary Australian Poetry (2016), Caring for Country (2017) and Wild Voices: An anthology on wildlife issues (2019).

%d bloggers like this: