Winter with garlic

Winter with garlic
by Adam Stokell

Ankle-deep in flat-earth maps, poems addressed to Grasmere seasons, drifts of fluff and dust. Apparently tea leaves prefer pots. Verb of the day: to steep. The weather app can’t count past ten, but somehow factors wind-chill, alerts graziers and motorists. How can ice be black? Dawn lawns brittling. Tour groups winding up the snow-confected Mountain. Snap. Feeling like you’ve read this madding crowd before. The purple snake that hibernates at the base of the back door. The brand of porridge that sticks to bones. Slippers should be made of sheep, hats of endangered memes. Unmentionables shrivel in cold’s blue grip.

Play the hand that hauls dark arts and dreamcoats out of the bottom drawer. Fetch three hairs of a blackwood dog, two Lazarus frogs, shrooms still tripping on the filth they rode in on. Better be headlamped, conjuring your stew by mid-afternoon. O but the vagrant meat wants mustering. Don’t talk to me of soup. Baboons native to southern Attenborough. Double roaring forties trouble. What’s a newt? Charming, firm and good: green brown onion on the chopping block, tight-laced pheromones, tearlessly intrigued with garlic.


This poem received an honourable mention in our 2023 Prose Poetry Competition.

Adam Stokell’s poems have appeared in numerous publications, including The Honest Ulsterman, Porridge Magazine, Unbroken Journal, Cordite Poetry Review and Burrow (Old Water Rat Publishing). His first poetry collection, Peopling The Dirt Patch, formed part of The People’s Library exhibit at the Long Gallery, Salamanca. He lives in southern lutruwita/Tasmania.


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