Fennel Tea

The mania of days. Who said that
and what route did we take?
Soho is a tangle of crowds,
its sides cube into corners,
and the directions are obscured
towards the midway point.
He lived in the Fitzrovia flat,
of an uncle who dropped dead
while drunk. An easy path to follow
when someone needs a bed. Mine
would be in the chilly lounge,
surrounded by books on Rosicrucianism
and ancient stones, a family
of grinning mariachi skeletons
strumming guitars above a fire.
Mostly I remember the fennel tea:
a yellow brew in white porcelain
like an old man’s piss. The first sip
offered a broth of smoky wood,
and aniseed and when I tell you
that I could feel it cleanse me…
Well. He blew the steam
from his cup, patient and neutral,
accepting everything offered to him
like a handful of foreign change
which he might pick through
and explain what I would need to pay.

Daniel Bennett was born in Shropshire and lives and works in London. His poems have been published in numerous places, including Atrium, Eye Flash Poetry Journal, and Under the Radar. His chapbook Arboreal Days is published by Red Ceilings Press.

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