Juniper Berries

my legs don’t usually drink,
but when they do, they imbibe martinis
to unwind what nature, scalpels

and sutures have wrought,
with oil of juniper berries,
those tiny spheres from which

spirits of gin are distilled,
its broom tree continually sheds fan-like
sprigs and shotgun pellets on my porch

that can only be partially swept away,
as can nerve damage
from my partial knee replacement.

still, I’m keeper of the fruit’s heart
of this fairy tale tree,
which only legend at Christmas

is reputation as scraggly choice
when fir or spruce or pine
sell out,

yet, juniper remains stolid
in front of my own abode,
trunk tall, perhaps raining down

its dusty black & blue manna
for another 100 years or more
after I’m gone,

but for now, these spicy berries zhuzh up
my fermentations of sauerkraut,
clear my amethyst crystals,

and with its sesquiterpenes,
slowly mend, nerve ending by nerve ending,
my martini-loving knees.

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About the Author

Cynthia Gallaher is a Chicago-based poet and author of four poetry collections, including Epicurean Ecstasy: More Poems About Food, Drink, Herbs and Spices (The Poetry Box, Portland, 2019), and three chapbooks, including Drenched (Main Street Rag, Charlotte, N.C., 2018). The Chicago Public Library lists her among its “Top Ten Requested Chicago Poets.” She is a two-time alumna of the Writers' Colony.

Cynthia Gallaher
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