This Lockdown Coffee Cup

The Diary Files is an online community diary that has been collecting the thoughts, feelings and experiences of the people of NSW during COVID lockdown, and continues now that lockdown restrictions are easing. This poem by Sally Denshire is one of many, many contributions on this State Library of NSW site.

This Lockdown Coffee Cup

Like a porcelain bra upside

down, halved, elongated,

of Indonesian Royal Doulton

fine china,

oven, freezer, dish-washer

safe, chip resistant – your

cracked, glazed handle

exposes grey clay


Cool to touch

when empty, your

smooth white body bears

four pears – like pairs

of blue & white plums –  

a Jakartan artisan

sips masala chai,

affixes curved handle,

dips each cup into

white glaze then brushes

on the blue.

With my hands cupped  

round you

– warm to the touch –

with mum considered palliative

from a distance,

in Autumn 2020 I drank silverte

– that’s what Eva calls hot water –

then mixed corn flour + a tablespoon

of stock inside you

to thicken sautéed


During Spring 2020,

all six cups could no longer gather for

coffee + eggs on the back deck.

COVID soars in Jakarta,

here, on the Border, these

elastic lockdown days

stretch on and on.

I view you from every angle to  

try and understand

your provenance; you’re

emptied and made new.

‘This Lockdown Coffee Cup’ link to:

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