Learning a decade later what I stored in my fridge, by Beth McDonough

Learning a decade later what I stored in my fridge

Newly back from Salzburg
Alex the Milliner waltzed
into the staffroom and my new post.
Just three coffee breaks into November,
after I’d left the job from hell.
Pure pantomime, he passed around his swag-
Don’t look! Just take a feel,
and grab the first one that you rub!
Yes you, new woman, you!
Well. I did.

Something like a lightbulb
rolled around my palm.
I hid it in my pocket, but
cupped it in the dark.
Then I laughed. Of course I took it home.
Allegedly, it’s filled with cream liqueur.
The other sort had added chocolate.
Who cared either way? The lid
is still intact. Presumably the contents
have long evaporated or gone off.

But I like it in the top shelf, a sphere
of welcomes, care and craic.
I told him once how much it meant,
after all the dark. He did his most
magnificent only-Alex roll of eyes.
Whit? Ye’ve really still kept wan o Mozart’s balls?


Progressive by Brian Johnstone

The way she said,
“I thought you might,”
was my undoing;

my chat-up lines
remembered more
for absence

than success. I’d said,
“What sounds are
you into?” Not caring,

but just putting out
the only line
that I could think of

aiming to connect.
Not even that alluring,
but a girl

that was enough.
How she answered
long forgotten;

but remembered
– when she asked me
that same thing –

is her response.
“Prog Rock,” I’d said,
so keen to get it right.

She didn’t wait;
said, turning on her heel,
“I thought you might.”

Brian Johnstone’s work has appeared throughout Scotland, elsewhere in the UK, in North America and in Europe. He has published six collections, most recently ‘Dry Stone Work’ (Arc, 2014), and his work appears on The Poetry Archive website. His memoir ‘Double Exposure’ will be published by Saraband in 2017.