Cognac

My glass is taken around the corner
to be warmed,
and brought back to the bar.
A bottle of cognac
is dusted off and I’m poured
a long
unmeasured measure.

I hand over my money
and once I let go of the cold coins
I’m rewarded
with a warm glass
against chapped skin.

I handle it
as though it were a crystal ball,
with its bulbous bottom
in the palm of my hands.

I feel the muscles in my fingers relax,
and as I circle the drink
under my nose
the solitary ice cube spins
around the edge of the glass
before melting
into the toffee coloured liquid.

I take a sip, and think
about how good this drink
always looks
against burgundy coloured nails.

I hold the drink on my tongue
for a second
and let it warm every part of my mouth.

This amber syrup
with its golden fumes
melts away my ashen memories
of an air-conditioned day
in a grey office.

I think about
nothing but crispy fallen leaves,
and chocolate Labradors
pawing unfamiliar snow.

I think about hanks of wool,
piled into bookcases
ready to turn into gifts.

I think about matches
rattling in their tatty boxes,
waiting to envelop
the corners of logs in flames.

I think of fur collars and hooded coats,
antique fountain pens,
and sepia ink.

I think of the unassuming brown second class stamps,
lined up on the bottle green leather of my bureau,
ready to send
my warmest wishes
across the world.

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