James Thurgood: “rum-pot”

     how many autumn months 
from its annunciation
     did it ferment
     in under-counter dark
revealed Christmas night,
     it drowned cake
     with sweetness
     – we pushed away
sticky bowls – then piled in more,
     half-wittingly grew drunk
by candlelight, as snow
     snuggled up outside
     – my sister and I
with then-spouses (small cousins
     asleep down the hall)
     amid groans and giggles
hands dropping limp to bellies
     pledges of abstinence,
     the rich mess dumped in,
the pot was capped
– to re-emerge
daily the Twelve Days
    – last syrup crumbs
shoved into my mouth
     like medicine,
     the washed pot
was hidden away
mention of ‘rum-pot’
     was a joke –
while we still laughed
     at failed recipes


James Thurgood was born in Nova Scotia, grew up in Windsor, Ontario, and now lives in Calgary, Alberta.  He has been a labourer, musician, and teacher – not necessarily in that order. His poems have appeared in various journals, anthologies, and in a collection (Icemen/Stoneghosts, Penumbra Press). He is also the author of His Own Misfortune, a work-in-progress.

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