States of Poetry Series Three - ACT | 'What he overhears' by Paul Munden

What he overhears

is the tumble of dried fruit – cherries, currants, raisins, sultanas – and the rest is imagined: cinnamon, the grated rind of an orange, sifted flour … then there’s a crack – ‘never mind, let’s try another!’ – and he pictures the smashed yolk wiped from the floor before the comic repeat, but he forges on with his own task, and later lets a quarter bottle of cognac weep into a heavy brass punchbowl, watching the drenched slices of fruit submerge then reappear as he waits for the first guests; and what he sees, deep within the ripples of Christmases past, is the future: tannin stained streams as he walks through the bush, and two crocodiles thrashing in a tinted river, glimpsed from the top of the gorge …

Paul Munden