We are out of wine. And that’s a problem
whether you are in Puglia or Pittsburgh.
Watman has a seawater risotto on the stove
he’s feeding dandelions and periwinkles,
and has the look you see in the Pacific
Northwest — Totemic, ocean facing,
as if to send the monsters back to the deep.
Skoog is picking a Stanley Brothers song
about sinfulness on the banjo while waiting
for the okra in his gumbo to break just right.
He’s singing about the hills of Virginia
but somehow predictably the flotsam of
Bywater and Katrina float into the verses.
Got a good thing going when Genoways
shows up, a wild boar in the bed of his pickup:
The only sustainable operation this side
of the Poconos, but smells like frack sluice.
We’ve been at it since late morning
and the day’s rolled geologically along,
our loved ones scattering themselves
on the nervy periphery of this story,
because the evening feels immortal
and it is ours to let come. And we love them
enough to forage from the keel and underbrush
of our lives this good meal as our friends
ply us with jars of drink and stories
about other people sitting around a fire,
another circle, their songs as good as ours.
It isn’t true, of course, but that’s not the point.
The truth is we are out of wine and someone
needs to make a run and scavenge the deli’s
racks of the underwhelming but drinkable.
Stay close to God is the kind of thing you hear
before you head down mountain roads,
where you count the car-bludgeoned trees,
It won’t be me, because it’s my dream.
And in my dream, why should I get out
of my boxers? Why should any of us
answer the warrant? No one will wander
farther than earshot: Kitchen, porch.
So we can holler and laugh and grow
serious regarding missed cheese,
corked wine, a goat being lovingly
slaughtered in the yard, if love and brevity
and mercy are delivered workman-like.
There are facts not to tinker out of:
Tar Sands. War. Water … We know this
though we’ve never been in the same room
together, just figures floating in the ether
of our making. Stay close to God
No one’s really a believer, but we believe
what wine says to glass, this blessing
of knives and rafters, shank and catgut,
the body’s comings and goings, prayers
that return our friends wonky but whole.
Let us loll our heads to the clonky god
of togetherness, these simple pleasures
laid out on a lead-heavy door converted
to a table, the openings and closings,
a lifetime of sentences and alibis.about the author