September 2020

Back to Issue 8


By Julie Manning

After Rachel Long’s ‘The Omen’


Negroni in cut glass – 

is temple-sacrifice: profane 

and ruby red

a slice of blood orange 

in cut wheel-spokes 

balanced on the rim. 


Strange how it caught the light 

medicinally suspect.


His hands were older, though little changed 

flexed open, closed, balled in a fist 

the sort of hands that always held a drink

this new man a naked starfish 

aimless arms

and soft underneath

even his same chair

padded up with cushions 

looked estranged

absent his blooded drink.  


As we played Paper Scissors Rock

Mum’s sleight-of-paper hand

became an origami jet –  

vapour fast 

her mouth still unwrapping family news

as she scooped the carmine glass 

artfully away 

like stolen goods 

domiciled to safety.