What the Winemaker Does in the Interim
Sometimes, on late September afternoons,
he doesn't touch any of it. The green
glass bottles stay nestled in the empty
coffee cans, the temperate scent of yeast
soaks into the rug, a vat of grape juice
still as cracked cement and as neglected
as a chalk outline.
with the oak doorframe he sips boiled coffee
cloudy with cream, and watches fat sparrows
peck at the red plastic feeder in the
front yard. And later, with a mouthful of
mirth and macaroni, he leans in and
whispers how much better than the juice home-
grown grapes would taste in his wine.
belong here with the winter
and the children, with the suburbs infesting around him. He's
too spirited and has the bulging heart
of an artist. He belongs somewhere else,
there where the mountains meet the sea. And God
created Sicily, and the sublime
orange of the perfect almond tree.
Sifting through the matter for six more months,
yeast dissolves into fruit juice—-not home-grown
grapes—-while he sweats and grunts and makes too much
noise slurping his coffee. His wealth is a
handful of pale yellow stickers with his
family name and a picture of a
With the patience of
those appeased by the eventual end
to all things, he pastes the stickers to the
bottles, thinks thatched roof, orchards of loquat
and papaya, sun bending verdant leaves.