Sunday, September 21, 2008

Telling it slant

I did have an uncle who opened a liquor store when I was just barely of age, or just underage. Other than that, this poem is fiction.

LATE ‘70s

I gaze through the cabernet
through the glass
at all the closed books,

on my shelves
remembering my sixteenth summer

when my uncle
opened his liquor store
led me to the stacked crates

(branded like the planks
cousin Bruce played cowboys with:
brandishing his hot wand, his weapon)

for the tasting.
it was sweet and a little spoiled
clinging to my lips, my tongue,

like curses
as he stared at my fingers
(at cross-my-heart level)

wrapped around the paper cup
so tight, their nails
so clean

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