RHONA MCADAM AND SWEET WATER AT THE POETRY PARTY
BY THE GLASS
Free for the taking
through all my childhood,
crashing into glasses bouldered with ice,
poured thickly from the sides of plastic jugs,
the unremarked and neglected
sentry at the top of place settings,
sweating on formica,
seized to cure fits of coughing
or moments of spice, replenished
unasked and endlessly.
When the costly bottles came,
in thalassic greens and fluvial blues,
the taps still turned for the frugal,
and we got what we paid for,
tepid, swirling with mist, fragrant
with swamp, or sold for 10 p a glass at
a parsimonious caff in Cornwall.
We drank each chlorinated drop
and spared the tip.
In New Mexico restaurants,
cards propped on the tables
invited us to value even this, the stuff
of dishpans and swimming pools,
while all afternoon in the Hilton
the self-flushing toilets
thundered their copious refrain
in unoccupied stalls.
A friend has returned from Africa.
We sit on the beach in clothes the colour of sand,
watching clouds gather
on the undrinkable blue horizon.
|Sweet Water editor Yvonne Blomer|
Rhona McAdam's poem is from the anthology Sweet Water: Poems for the Watersheds, edited by Yvonne Blomer. It was meant to be launched March 18, 2020. Republished with permission from Caitlin Press. Copies may be ordered from the press.