The Saturday poem: Recipe for an Alp
A new poem by Sarah Byrne
Snap a HB pencil in half to form a peak;
glue the exposed lead and wood back together
to make a frame. Take a copybook and tear
out the middle pages to make a shelter.
You will deal with the blue lines later. Put the pages aside.
Focus on the broken pencil balancing on your desk.
Just between where the Faber and the Castell
are embossed, there’s a restaurant. Meet me there.
It’s one of those glass rotating types that move
so slowly we think we’ve stopped. Lift the serviette
from the wine glass and place it on top of the pages
you put to the side in line five. If you’ve found
the right restaurant, they will be the exact same size.
You can do this the wrong way too. You don’t want
to make a tent instead of a mountain. To be on top
of the blue lines instead of above them.
For the apex, you will need red wine, salt
and a white wall for the backdrop. Throw the wine
over your left shoulder for good luck and pour the salt
into your right ear to return everything to white.
The serviette: you can place back in the glass now.
Sodium is your friend you might say. They speak French
in the lead of the pencil and German at base camp.
In the restaurant they speak only a coarse Italian
and when we run out of bread, they place roses
on our side plates and say è sparito. We throw them
at one another like snowballs and they feel cold and soft.
You pick up the salt cellar and shake it so it snows on my side
of the table. It must be the first time I’ve been this close
to the start of snow. And Look, you say, holding the wine glass
to your lips so that the words vibrate against
the page: I’ve made you an Alp.
Sarah Byrne worked as a criminologist. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, The Irish Examiner and a number of anthologies. She is editor of The Well Review.