Cocktail Hour

Susie Morice

I need an elixir, a potion,
a witch’s brew to get me through
2020 since lockdown started for me on March 15.

A salving cocktail, if you will,
could maybe numb the hurt
of 200,000 (and counting)
erased from the country;

a cocktail to salve the scary fears
my friends endured,
their fevers, coughing, pneumonias,
ventilators, quarantines
away from their loved ones;

a cocktail to assuage my teacher friends
at wit’s end
on a rollercoaster of administrative indecision
“just teach online”:
(virtual too euphemistic…far too benign),
no wait, in-person, no wait online, no wait, hybrid, no wait …,
two full-time jobs
with parents at wits’ end hammering
their email keyboards morning to night
demanding answers teachers don’t have;

a cocktail that calms kids’ confusion
while adults around them play out domestic drama,
voices muzzled, ignored
day after day;

a cocktail that hushes the deniers, those ill-informed,
head-up-their-a$$, anti-logic, anti-mask,
anti-sanity spewers, hoax-mongers of breathtaking ignorance;

a cocktail to set at my feet
where my beloved old Watty used to lie,
to get me through that silence;

a cocktail that grants me sleep.

As with the Shakespeare hags
with their cauldron brewing cocktail,
there go I:

“Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails of potus I’d throw.
Toad, his henchman rudyominous, I’d pull from under cold stone,
Boil thou i’ the charmed pot.

Double, double this toil’s no trouble;
Fire ‘em up and burn, let the cauldron bubble.

Fillet of fenny snake,
Toss in a pence, not worth a shilling, in cauldron boil and bake,
Eye of mitch and toe of frogsmillershill,
Rushian wool of jared and mal-onia tongue salivating swill,
Adder’s fork barr no truth and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leggy kellycon and vulture’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil ‘em till they bubble.

Double, double this toil’s no trouble;
Fire ‘em up and burn, let the cauldron bubble.”

The hangover would be worth it.


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Bridge the Distance: An Oral History of COVID-19 in Poems Copyright © 2021 by Susie Morice is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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