J.R. McConvey

The Brewmaster’s Art

I envy this barley husk
flaking mothlike upon the kettle
detritus of brewing cells
aboil toward sublimation

Grain emptied of enzyme and trouble
weeping yeasts grazing the old weight
I hauled many gallons today,
now my back aches, my nerves are broken

I flake away, counting years
In the brews I make. Doughed in
at 65, mashed for an age
fermenting forever, testing gravities

Sampling my creations and finding
each wanting

I pound the grains again, mill the meal
leave only husks to float and dissolve
the wort achieved
the brew begun again

Warming a finger in the precise
temperature of water
Watching days change
the foam within the cask

J.R. McConvey is a writer based in Toronto. His work has appeared in Joyland, The Dalhousie Review, The Puritan, The Danforth Review, The Found Poetry Review and other outlets, and he regularly reviews books for The Globe and Mail. His novella, "The Last Ham," was published as an e-book by House of Anansi in 2013.