You are reading Fiddleblack #5
Good for thunderhead days when the heat hangs
like a hangover and the clouds run backwards
and respite is a shadow at noon. Start
with a big glass pitcher, not a carafe
which are only fit for bangled women with necks
like giraffes. Think lemonade, sweet tea.
Cut lemons and limes into thin eyes
and cut some cucumber to eat as you go.
The pitcher should be a dark contrasting color
if you have a thirst for adventure—blue, more blue
than anything real, cobalt, pool—
a light one if you are sassy but still
proposition the sky from beneath stained glass.
Pour in a rusty wine from baked Spanish lands
—it will stain the fat belly of the pitcher red,
or blueblack like squid ink, dark as the lake.
Slip in blood orange slices, raw as burned skinny
dippers. Dip in a finger, then peaches without skin.
Leave them there if you dare. To chill:
find a well house. Most sit offish from the heat
and alone, so it doesn’t matter if you don’t
own it. When you brew sangria, you own
everything. My favorite well long beckoned me
from behind a green-tiled manor house.
I bought my Ming blue pitcher from that house,
the lawns and roofs all green as moss
and richer, as soft as evening on the grounds
where it was always just before summer sunset,
the fireflies not yet lighting the path to the lake
like a girl opening and closing her cellphone as she walks.
A farmhouse with a tumbling barn,
or curtains matching mulberry trees behind a black gate:
go there and find your well house waiting.
Go there when the moon hides her face from the heat
and no dogs bark and the lawns are abandoned to slick darkness.
Put the pitcher in a paper bag to honor the drunks
who came before you; carry it under your arm
careful but victorious, like Goliath’s head. Dis-
honor your father and mother by striding barefoot
into the well house so you can feel the cold
as though hell has frozen over and will soon
greet you. Add well water bubbly with the bends
from the swift slosh pull up, that dark riptide.
Return the pitcher to the bucket, lower
and wait. It’s brewing. Take off your clothes.
Bridget Menasche grew up in New York’s Hudson Valley. She went on to work along the Hudson River. After a few summers on the water, the surrounding landscape elbowed its way into her poetry.