Ella Frears

Soak it All In


At night the herbs outside my window
are pummelled by rain. I wake infused,

nude on the bare bed. Morning comes

with basket of boiled eggs, still warm,
under a folded cloth. I crack one, lift its top.
What did I hope would be inside? 

The waitress here pronounces plum, blam.
Go on, she says into my eyes, holding out
a palm-full of dusty blams. 

Under the dripping fig tree I ask myself,
if this were an Agatha Christie novel, who
would be murdered? The answer displeases me.

There’s a brief sunny spell. I go for a walk
and pick red and orange poppies. Pocketless,
I carry them back in my knickers, along 

with the feeling that I’ve experienced
the meadow incorrectly. Across the bay,
thunder rolls off a blue island 

towards the hungover boat-man,
his pink shorts. A wet pine pushes
the hair off my face, needles my cheeks. 

I’m so absorbent – fat drops of rain,
oregano, blam juice, the behaviours
of the other guests. Kissing in the rain 

is romantic because it’s a ménage à trois.
I shiver as the clammy hands of a storm
and the rough hands of a retired banker 

corner me on the terrace. Every stem
in the garden has its neck broken. There’s
a dead snake by the pool covered in ants. 

These are terrible conditions for a woman.
Lucky it’s the year of the sponge!


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