What’s Your Poison? by Mark Mayes

We bought a bar
for the dining room,
to entertain ourselves
and non-existent
friends of the family.

We stocked up on mixers,
European lagers.
Stuck mirrored squares
behind the bottles
to catch reflections
of pretend barpersons.
Sunk muted spotlights
into cheap, beige wood.

Angostura Bitters
and grenadine
lent their cachet
to the gift-set tumblers
and clear plastic coasters.

The months passing,
novelty grew brittle.
And barely noticed
the bar went dry.

The optics glued.
And one by one
the upside down
empty spirits
their false glamour.

The ice bucket grew musty.
Even the maraschino cherries

Mark Mayes has published poems in various magazines, including: The Interpreter’s House, Ink Sweat & Tears, Staple, The Reader, The Shop, and Fire, and has had work broadcast on BBC Radio. He has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. 


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