LAWRENCE PETTENER

Writer, Poet

Drinking John Burnside’s Beer

After sitting around, we heard you say
“Let’s go to the pub – the drinks are on me.”

You had thrown out the invite
at ten forty-five on a Thursday night

and the pub was half a mile away, uphill;
a driech night, but just a smirr of rainfall

fell, and I got there two minutes late
in time to hear the landlord say

“You’re taking the piss,” and
to save you from embarrassment

with a fiver for the takeout.
So we stayed for the lock-in and talked about

Neil Rollinson and Matthew Sweeney,
being Celtic and sensuality

before getting back to the fire,
where four brown bottles of bitter

balanced in the heel of the night.
We shared secrets we would not

remember telling; all drank the silence from each other,
reached poetic states. Cheers for Timothy Taylor’s,

John; how good it was, you might never know
‘cause you were outside with the smoking crew;

wine-glass in one hand, yourself in a swither
your cigar burning fiercely in the other.

From your state of fullness, I think you allowed
me to take back in some of my shadow.